Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Chemists measure chilli sauce hotness with nanotubes

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and into the lab – chemists can now use carbon nanotubes to judge the heat of chilli sauces. The technology might soon be available commercially as a cheap, disposable sensor for use in the food industry.

Richard Compton and his team at Oxford University, UK, have developed a sensitive technique to measure the levels of capsaicinoids, the substances that make chillies hot, in samples of chilli sauce. They report their findings in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal The Analyst.

The current industry procedure is to use a panel of taste-testers, and is highly subjective. Compton’s new method unambiguously determines the precise amount of capsaicinoids, and is not only quicker and cheaper than taste-testers but more reliable for purposes of food standards; tests could be rapidly carried out on the production line.

They tested a range of chilli sauces, from the mild “Tabasco Green Pepper” sauce to “Mad Dog’s Revenge”, which sports an extensive health warning and liability disclaimer.

... more about:
»Nanotube »capsaicinoids »heat »measure »method

The well-established Scoville method – currently the industry standard – involves diluting a sample until five trained taste testers cannot detect any heat from the chilli. The number of dilutions is called the Scoville rating; the relatively mild Jalapeño ranges from around 2500-8000, whereas the hottest chilli in the world, the “Naga Jolokia”, has a rating of 1000000.

High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) can also be used, but this requires bulky, expensive equipment and detailed analysis of the capsaicinoids.

In Compton’s method, the capsaicinoids are adsorbed onto multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) electrodes. The team measures the current change as the capsaicinoids are oxidised by an electrochemical reaction, and this reading can be translated into Scoville units.

The technique is called adsorptive stripping voltammetry (ASV), and is a relatively simple electrochemical method. Compton says, “ASV is a fantastic detection technique for capsaicinoids because it’s so simple - it integrates over all of the heat creating constituents because all of the capsaicinoids have essentially the same electrochemical response.”

Compton has applied for a patent on the technology, and Oxford University’s technology transfer subsidiary ISIS Innovation is actively seeking backers to commercialise the technique.

Jon Edwards | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Nanotube capsaicinoids heat measure method

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs
20.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues
20.03.2018 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>