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Production of new pest free red chilli pepper using innovative technologies

Improving the marketability value of turkish red chilli peppers by enhancing its quality through an integrated system including innovative manufacturing and preservation methods.

The chilli pepper is a most important crop for the Turkish food industry in Kahramanmaras Province in TURKEY, representing a high share of Turkish exports. There are several major economic problems in the processing and storage phases of the Red Chilli Pepper (RCP). Fungi contamination has a great influence on aflatoxin production in chilli peppers. The lack of a cleaning process for freshly harvested chilli pods and the traditional drying method (solar drying) also increase the risk of mycotoxin development on chilli peppers. In Kahramanmaras Province, there is only one chilli pepper factory that applies a cleaning process for freshly harvested chilli pods and modern drying methods that use microwave and continuous band drying. Once the chilli peppers are dried to a level of 10 to 12% moisture content, it can reabsorb moisture from the ambient during its long storage period. It then becomes vulnerable to a second mycotoxin development that is highly detrimental to the taste and aroma of the chilli pepper. Insects can also damage the chilli peppers directly during long-term storage, reduce their nutritive value, affect their handling properties and cause contamination with body parts and excreta, which reduce the quality of the chilli peppers. Moreover, there is a serious problem of quality deterioration due to the oxidative processes in colour pigments of chilli peppers. The problems associated with manufacturing and storage of these commodities reduces the competitive power of the Turkish chilli pepper on the international market, and therefore decreases their international market share. As a result, serious losses are caused to the Turkish economy in general and the food industry in particular. Due to the limitation of being able to maintain fresh crops only for a few days, the alternative of collecting fresh crops beyond the season is not an option. As a result, the chilli pepper industries operate for a short season and are closed for the rest of the year. This causes very high maintenance costs. Consequently, there is an urgent need for Turkish chilli pepper industries to develop and adopt an integrated chilli pepper production system, including novel and innovative manufacturing and preservation technologies for aflatoxin prevention and quality preservation of colour, taste and aroma, and free from insects and other contaminants. The innovated production system will consist of three phases: 1. PRODUCTION PHASE The objective of this phase is to develop a standardized method for the prevention of mycotoxins, including aflatoxin from freshly harvested chilli peppers. This objective will be achieved by employing innovative pathogen and fungal removal techniques at the reception point of the chilli pods into the processing and packaging factory. For drying, two methods will be carried out: full and pre-drying. Full drying means decreasing crop moisture to a final level of 10% to 12%. Pre-drying means decreasing crop moisture to level of around 40% to 60%. To operate the chilli pepper factory for a longer period throughout the year, the pre-drying method will be applied. After the storage period, pre-dried chilli pepper will be also dried to a safe moisture level. 2. STORAGE PHASE A - Development and implementation of V-HF (Vacuum-Hermetic Fumigation) technology: The objective is to develop and adopt the V-HF technology to preserve quality and prevent contamination of the chilli pods after the drying process. Quality preservation will be achieved by preserving the pre-dried and full-dried chilli peppers under low pressure until the final processing stages and before packaging. B - Development and implementation of "Prog2kill" technology: To develop and adopt the innovative electronic pest monitoring method for the chilli pepper industry. This technology uses computer technology to transmit information by evaluating pheromone traps for monitoring insects and bait stations for monitoring rodent contamination in the manufacturing lines, and in storage sites of the chilli pepper factories. 3. PACKAGING PHASE The objective of this phase is to develop and adopt the BioPack technology to provide an insect repellent package. The innovative package will integrate a food-based repellent in the laminate to provide a full protection from insect penetration until the chilli peppers are consumed. MUSAN and NURON will address this process in their joint project "Pest Free - Red Chilli Pepper", by developing, manufacturing and marketing a unique product that satisfies the specific requirements of the European market mentioned above. Successful implementation of these novel technologies in manufacturing and preservation of Turkish chilli peppers will directly increase its marketability power in international markets by holding a special label of EUREKA on its package and thus will contribute to the Turkish economy. Furthermore, the innovative technologies applied in this project will form a unique example for manufacturing and preservation of other high-value commodities (dry fruits, hazelnuts, pistachio and other spices) in food industries worldwide. Keywords: agriculture, food, chilli.
Acronym: 
RCP
Project ID: 
3 186
Start date: 
01-07-2003
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
4 000 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Food Microbiology / Toxicology / Quality Control
Market Area: 
Cultivation of cereals / crops / vegetables

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.