14 February 2020

Piperine Content Of Different Peppers

Steenbergs has analysed the piperine content of different types of pepper, including true peppers (Piper spp.) and other berries that are used in cooking like pepper.

Piperine Content Of Different Peppers

As part of Steenbergs ongoing research into spices, we recently commissioned Eurofins to analyse a range of different peppers for their piperine content, the key volatile oil in that peppery flavour.  This included peppers from the true pepper family - the Piper species - and from a few different origins and types of pepper, i.e. black, green, white and red.  To this, we included other peppers such as long pepper and cubeb pepper.

For curiosity, we arranged for other berries that are used like pepper in cooking to be likewise tested for piperine.  So that was the Sichuan pepper style of peppers, such as Sansho, Sichuan and Timur pepper.  Then , we included berries and other quasi-pepper fruits, such as pink peppercorns, Tasmanian pepper, passion berries from Ethiopia and uda pods from the Ivory Coast.

The results were as expected.  Peppers include varying proportions of piperine, while the non-pepper berries have a much lower content of piperine.  Interestingly, cubeb pepper had a low level of piperine at 0.1% in the volatile oils, but the main volatile in cubeb pepper is a a volatile oil called cubebine that comprises up to 15% of the volatile oils.

Table of Piperine in Volatile Oils of Different Berries

Type of pepper or berryBotanical nameWhere fromPiperine in volatiles
Black peppercornPiper nigrumSri Lanka6.3%
Green peppercornPiper nigrumIndia5.6%   
Red peppercornPiper nigrumIndia 4.3%
Red peppercorn (Phu Quoc pepper)Piper nigrumVietnam3.4%
White peppercorn (Penja pepper)Piper nigrumCameroon7.0%
White peppercornPiper nigrumSri Lanka6.6%
Cubeb pepper (Tailed pepper)Piper cubebaIndonesia0.1%
Long pepperPiper longumIndonesia3.7%
Red long pepperPiper retrofactumVietnam4.5%
Voatsiperifery pepperPiper borbonenseMadagascar2.0%
Ma khaen berry (Indian pepper, Lemon pepper)Zanthoxylum rhetsaLaos0.6%
Sansho pepperZanthoxylum piperitumJapan0.4%
Sichuan pepperZanthoxylum simulansChina0.4%
Timur pepper (Sichuan pepper)Zanthoxylum armatumNepal0.3%
Allspice (Jamaican pepper)Pimenta dioicaGuatemala0.1%
Grains of paradise (Alligator pepper, Meligueta pepper)Amamum meleguetaGhana0.1%
Mountain pepper (Tasmanian mountain pepper)Tasmannia lanceolataAustralia0.1%
Passion berryRuta chaelpensisEthiopia0.9%
Pink peppercorn (Baie rose)Schinus terebinthifoliusMadagascar0.1%
Uda pod (Selim pepper)Xylopia aethiopicaIvory Coast0.1%

If anyone is interested in the more detailed table, please email us.