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NMSU Isolates World’s Hottest Pepper

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In a first-of-its-kind scientific study of “super-hot” varieties of chile, the New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute has identified the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as the hottest pepper on the planet, according to an NMSU news release.

“For this study, we wanted to establish the average heat levels for super-hot varieties. That’s something that hadn’t been scientifically set,” Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute, said in the release. “We also wanted to see which chile pepper truly has the highest heat levels.”

For the study, Bosland, senior research specialist Danise Coon and graduate student Gregory Reeves, looked at several breeds reputed to be among the world’s hottest chiles, including the Bhut Jolokia, a previous world record holder identified by the Chile Pepper Institute and certified by Guinness Book of World Records in 2007, the release said.

Each of the super-hot varieties was grown in an NMSU plant science research field, following standard agricultural practices for growing chiles in southern New Mexico, then mature fruits were randomly selected, harvested, dried and ground to powder, according to the release.

The capsaicinoids, or the compounds that produce the sensation of heat, were then extracted and examined, with the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion scoring highest in overall heat, the release said.

For more information, go to the Chile Institute website at www.chilepepperinstitute.org.

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