Chilica-pod Can Tell You How Hot Chili Peppers Are | Daily Glimpse of Science | Food and Drink
An article mentioned there was a new portable device called Chilica-pod, shaped like a chili which could determine the heat levels of chili peppers. So you would know if adding the pepper to a meal might burn your mouth or not. The device measures capsaicin which is the fiery chemical compound that helps give chili peppers their kick. The device’s sensor is made up of graphene sheets. The capsaicin from the chili pepper will trigger the electrons to move among the graphene atoms when a drop of a chili pepper and ethanol solution is added to the sensor. The more capsaicin the pepper has, the stronger the electrical current through the graphene sheets, indicating the spicier the pepper tastes. Once the Chilica-pod is plugged into a smartphone, the electrical activity recorded will be sent to an app for analysis. When converting to Scoville heat units which is an imperfect measurement determined by human taste testers, the Chilica-pod can detect a range from mild peppers like serrano or cayenne to the blazing hot Carolina reaper, one of the world’s hottest peppers. The device is so sensitive that it can detect even extremely low levels of capsaicin, as low as the amount in a pepper with no heat. The researchers were hoping that the device could someday be used in testing fresh peppers or peppers in cooked meals. The gadget could also help people with capsaicin allergies and farmers with harvesting the right peppers with the right spiciness. Currently, the more precise methods for measuring spiciness are expensive and time-consuming, so the Chilica-pod could provide an alternative with much faster responses. However, capsaicin is just one of at least 24 related compounds that brings the heat to peppers, so further studies will need to be done.
Disclaimer: This is an inspired scenario derived from new studies and articles. The content of this video is for information only and not intended to provide any professional advice or reflect any opinions.
The photo of Chilica-pod – a portable, chili-shaped gadget – plugged into a smartphone – Photo credit: ADAPTED FROM ACS APPLIED NANO MATERIALS 2020
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