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US (NM): Hot off the press: strongest chilli identified

New Mexico University has identified the hottest chilli on Earth. According to a study carried out at the institute the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is steaming ahead of its rivals.

"For this study, we wanted to establish the average heat levels for super-hot varieties. That's something that hadn't been scientifically set," said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the Chilli Pepper Institute. "We also wanted to see which chile pepper truly has the highest heat levels."

For the study, Bosland and his partners Danise Coon, a senior research specialist, and Gregory Reeves, a graduate student, looked at several chilli breeds reputed to be among the hottest in the world, including Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Trinidad Scorpion, 7-pot, Chocolate 7-pot and Bhut Jolokia - a previous world record holder identified by the Chile Pepper Institute and certified by Guinness World Records in 2007.

Each of the tested varieties was cultivated at the university, in a standard way to ensure normal heat levels.  Mature fruits were selected, harvested, dried and ground to powder so that the compounds responsible for the heat could be extracted and examined.

When they examined the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion things really started to warm up. It was found to have more than 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units. Chocolate 7-pot came in at almost 1.17 million SHU. 7-pot placed third with more than 1.06 million SHU. Trinidad Scorpion packed almost 1.03 million SHU and Bhut Jolokia had almost 1.02 million SHU.

Chilli peppers of the same variety will often vary in heat, even when grown in the same field or picked from the same plant. This study saw similar results, with some individual plants scoring much higher than the mean heat levels. Two individual Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper plants registered more than 2 million SHU - almost twice as hot as an average Bhut Jolokia pepper.

"Part of the reason we conducted this research is that rigorous scientific testing is required to ensure accurate determination of super hot heat levels," Coon said. "The Chilli Pepper Institute, as the leading authority on chilli peppers, was a logical place for this research to be conducted."

Food producers are already hot off the mark and warming up the idea of new products based upon the findings. CaJohn's fiery Foods is already creating Sancto Scorpio sauce for those interested in burning off their tastebuds!

Source: www.ktsm.com

Publication date: 2/14/2012


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