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Aim: This research was designed to evaluate the effects of different levels of three mutagens on two pepper varieties with a vision of choosing mutants with high values in biochemical contents that may possibly be valuable in breeding improved varieties of the plant.
Methods: Seeds of pepper were exposed to varying doses of gamma rays 60Co (50, 100, 150, and 200Gy), X-ray doses (40, 60, 80, and 100KV) and sodium azide (0.01, 0.02, 0.03 and 0.04%). The treated seeds and the controls were grown in the Botanic Garden of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka using a Completely Randomized Design.
Results: The result showed that vitamin C and β-carotene ranged from 5.89 – 26.88 and 2.62 – 11.35 mg/100 g, Fe and Ca (14.70 and 13.78 mg/100 g) were highest in Shombo at 100Gy. Values ranging from 0.36-2.00 and 3.96 – 18.82 mg/100 g were recorded for flavonoid and alkaloid content across all treatment combinations. The result also revealed that at 100Kv and 150Gy, ash content increased in both varieties. The highest protein concentration of 9.57% was recorded at 100Kv of X-ray in Shombo and 6.96% at 150Gy of gamma irradiation in Tatase variety. Principal component analysis explained extracted five principal axis which accounted for the variability of 72.54%.
Conclusion: This study reveals that biochemical content in pepper could be improved with exposure to mutagens especially gamma irradiation.
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