Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Just How Hot Is That Red Hot Chili Pepper?

Date:
August 10, 2007
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new way to test the "heat" inside a habanero chili pepper. The relatively simple technique to analyze the active components in the pepper could provide quicker and more accurate information to the food preparation industry and to those wanting to utilize peppers for medical purposes, such as pain relief.

Baylor University researchers have developed a new way to test the “heat” inside a habanero chili pepper. The relatively simple technique to analyze the active components in the pepper could provide quicker and more accurate information to the food preparation industry and to those wanting to utilize peppers for medical purposes, such as pain relief.

Capsaicinoids are the family of chemicals that give a pepper its spiciness. Capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin are two members of the group that make up to 90 percent of the total capsaicinoid content found in the pepper. The exact amount of capsaicinoid content varies from pepper to pepper, giving each individual pepper a different degree of spiciness.

“Capsaicinoids are the active ingredient in pepper spray, tear gas and some arthritis medications, not to mention spices and foods like salsa, so a wide range of industries could find this new approach useful,” said Dr. Kenneth Busch, professor of chemistry and co-director of the Center for Analytical Spectroscopy at Baylor and a lead investigator on the project.

The current industry standard to test the heat of a pepper is through a process called high-performance liquid chromatography, but the process can be expensive and time consuming because scientists must first chemically separate the capsaicinoids in the extract from other interfering molecules that also are present.

Rather than try to chemically separate the capsaicinoids, Baylor researchers used a mathematical approach based on multivariate regression modeling. The new approach takes known capsaicinoid content numbers from a series of pepper extracts and plugs them into a computer program. Those base numbers “train” the computer to focus on the subtle features present in the spectrum that correlate with the capsaicinoid concentration, allowing the computer to recognize the hotness components in the extract even in the presence of the other interfering molecules. Once the computer has been “trained” to recognize those components, it can then be used to determine the heat of other unknown peppers.

While methods for testing the heat of a pepper have dramatically improved over the years, Baylor researchers believe their cheminformatics approach is less expensive and quicker than other modern techniques, potentially saving time for the busy food preparation industry.

“Like all fundamental research, application will come over time,” Busch said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Just How Hot Is That Red Hot Chili Pepper?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070803142453.htm>.
Baylor University. (2007, August 10). Just How Hot Is That Red Hot Chili Pepper?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070803142453.htm
Baylor University. "Just How Hot Is That Red Hot Chili Pepper?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070803142453.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) — River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins