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.

Related Articles


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 March 6, 2015 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 March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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