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Hot Sauce Heat Measured with Nanotubes


slkinsey
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Chemists measure chilli sauce hotness with nanotubes

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 2,500-8,000, whereas the hottest chilli in the world, the 'Naga Jolokia', has a rating of 1,000,000. 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.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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Well, I'm not sure what any of that means, but it would be wonderful if by "cheap" they meant sensors that were affordable by mere individuals. I'd love to be able to check how hot a batch of chiles is before adding them to a salsa, etc. The current method results in the loss of all too many tastebuds... :smile:

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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That looks like a slick setup. I wonder how much and how often cleaning would be needed to keep the sensor calibrated properly? Would the nanotube electrodes plug up with oxidized capsaicin?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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