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Trinidad Moruga Scorpion named world's hottest pepper

London , Thu, 16 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 16 (ANI): Chilean experts have identified Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as the new hottest pepper on the planet.


The golf ball-sized pepper scored the highest among a handful of chili breeds reputed to be among the hottest in the world. Its mean heat topped more than 1.2 million units on the Scoville heat scale, while fruits from some individual plants reached 2 million heat units, the Telegraph reported.


"You take a bite. It doesn't seem so bad, and then it builds and it builds and it builds. So it is quite nasty," Paul Bosland, a renowned pepper expert and director of the New Mexico's State University's Chile Pepper Institute, said of the pepper's heat.


Researchers were compelled by hot sauce makers, seed producers and others in the spicy foods industry to ascertain the average heat levels for super-hot varieties in an effort to quash unscientific claims of which peppers are really the hottest.


That's something that hadn't been done before, Bosland asserted.


"The question was, could the Chile Pepper Institute establish the benchmark for chili heat?" he said.


"Chile heat is a complex thing, and the industry doesn't like to base it on just a single fruit that's a record holder. It's too variable."


The team planted around 125 plants of each variety - the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the Trinidad Scorpion, the 7-pot, the Chocolate 7-pot and the Bhut Jolokia, which was a prior record-holder identified by the institute and certified by Guinness World Records in 2007.


Randomly chosen mature fruits from a number of plants within each variety were harvested, dried and ground to powder. The compounds that produce heat sensation - the capsaicinoids - were then extracted and studied.


During harvesting, senior research specialist Danise Coon said that she and the two students, who were selecting the peppers, went through about four pairs of latex gloves.


"The capsaicin kept penetrating the latex and soaking into the skin on our hands. That has never happened to me before," she said.


Chile peppers of similar variety can differ in heat depending on environmental conditions. More stress on a plant - hotter temperatures or less water, for example - will result in hotter fruit. (ANI)


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