Capsicum was used in a study designed to reduce environmental pollution by increasing nitrogen use efficiency. Nitrogen was applied at four different concentrations to two pepper cultivars. Results showed that nitrogen treatments had no significant negative impacts on fruit physical or chemical quality, including sugar content and acidity. Reduced nitrogen applications did not affect nutritional components of the peppers such as beta-carotene and lycopene content, nor did they reduce antioxidant activity.
As consumer demand for year-round fresh produce increases, vegetable and fruit producers are facing significant environmental and sustainability issues, and are being challenged to examine traditional production practices in order to improve product quality while limiting environmental impact. A recent focus on both the positive and negative effects of nitrogen applications has researchers across the globe working to find methods that can increase crops’ “nitrogen use efficiency” (NUE) to contribute to more sustainable, responsible agricultural practices.
“Our results demonstrate how the environmental impact of intensive agriculture can be minimized without harming fruit yield or quality by reducing nitrogen application level and adopting cultivars with improved nitrogen use efficiency,” the authors concluded.