Justin Bannister Super-Hot Chile Peppers NMSU researchers investigate how super-hot peppers pack their powerful punch | New Mexico State University - BE BOLD. Shape the Future.
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Super-Hot Chile Peppers NMSU researchers investigate how super-hot peppers pack their powerful punch

Researchers at New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute have discovered that super-hot chile peppers, those with more than one million Scoville Heat Units, are built differently than other peppers. Unlike regular chile peppers, super-hot peppers make the most of the interior space they have available, which can lead to some serious heat.
 
“What we were interested in finding was why super-hot chile peppers are able to get that hot,” said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the university’s Chile Pepper Institute.
 
“What we were interested in finding was why super-hot chile peppers are able to get that hot.”

“The very first chile peppers evolved around Bolivia in South America,” said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute. “The early wild peppers were very small and round and spread, probably by birds, for tens of thousands of years to the southern portion of the United States and all the way to the tip of Chile and Argentina.”

Experts believe that when the first humans arrived in the Western Hemisphere, probably around 15,000 years ago, they began to cultivate chile peppers and select them for various traits. The plants also naturally cross-pollinate well, so new varieties are easily developed and constantly being made. Today, there are thousands of chile pepper varieties. 

 

Researchers at New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute have discovered that super-hot chile peppers, those with more than one million Scoville Heat Units, are built differently than other peppers. Unlike regular chile peppers, super-hot peppers make the most of the interior space they have available, which can lead to some serious heat.
 
“What we were interested in finding was why super-hot chile peppers are able to get that hot,” said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the university’s Chile Pepper Institute.