Microbial isolate for the production of quality white pepper (Piper nigrum L.)

G.S. Sreekala, K.S. Meenakumari, S. Vigi


White pepper, the value added product of black pepper is traditionally produced by decortications of ripe or dried black pepper berries. Excessive time taken for retting imparts off odour to the traditionally prepared white pepper making the process and product less acceptable. An experiment was conducted to standardise a microbial method that could reduce the retting period and off odour. Screening of 25 microbial isolates comprising 21 bacterial and 4 fungi was undertaken. The experiment was replicated four times. Six best isolates (five bacteria and one fungus) which reduced retting period and produced good colour and appearance to the white pepper were selected by visual observation. Selected six isolates were inoculated again on the ripe berries in four replications along with uninoculated control. Three bacterial isolates were found very effective to reduce the retting period by half compared to control. Isolate I1 could ret the ripe berries with minimum time (4.25 days) and produce white pepper which had superior white colour and appearance and which was on par with uninoculated control as per sensory score. The odour of the white pepper produced by all isolates was significantly better than uninoculated control. Quality parameters, such as essential oil and oleoresin produced by the best isolate (I1), was on par with the control. Morphological, biochemical and molecular characterisation of the best three isolates was done. The 16S r DNA sequencing (1500bp) revealed that isolate I1 was a relative of Bacillus pumilus. White pepper produced by the isolate of Bacillus pumilis was superior as it required reduced retting period with product having less off odour, suggesting that the isolate could be used for commercial production of white pepper. The other two isolates belonged to Rhizobium and Sphingobacterium genus.


White pepper,Piper nigrum L.,Bacillus pumilus, Isolation ,Microbial isolate Retting

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