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Why chillies are hot: the science of heat

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Sam I Am, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    The following is just one section of the larger article.

    It's about how to grow even hotter chillies than what would normally grow.

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    Maximising the heat

    Some varieties of chilli are naturally hundreds of times hotter than others, but Mark says they all have a "maximum genetic potential" that can be achieved through clever growing techniques.

    Working with NSW business The Chilli Factory, Mark used liquid runoff from a worm farm to fertilise a particularly spicy chilli known as the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T. Months later, the Butch T claimed the Guinness World Record for the hottest chilli.

    Like all fertilisers, 'worm juice' is rich in nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen, but what makes it particularly effective for bringing out the heat are the bodies of insects that have decomposed in the worm farm.

    "The insects in there are living and dying pretty rapidly, and bits of their shell will break down," says Mark. "When you apply the juice to the plants' roots, they think they're getting eaten by insects." In response, the chillies produce more of their defensive compounds like capsaicin. "It's like getting an injection to boost your immune system," he says.

    Complete Story

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