If you are a foodie who avoids eating spicy food, there is no more need to worry. A research published in American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Applied Nano Materials journal has revealed about a chili-shaped portable device that can reveal how much capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, a pepper contains before biting into it.
According to the ACS researchers, “Chili peppers are a popular food ingredient around the world. In addition to imparting a spicy flavor, the capsaicin in chili peppers has several health benefits, including anti-oxidative, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory activities. Therefore, the demand for capsaicin as a food additive and pharmaceutical agent is growing.”
However, some go out of the way avoid the palate-singeing burn of capsaicin. For them, Warakorn Limbut and colleagues wanted to develop a simple, accurate and cheap method to quantify the capsaicin content of chili peppers and food samples. The researchers further stated that alternative mechanism have been created for this purpose are complicated, time-consuming or require expensive, bulky instrumentation.
A chili-shaped portable device have been created by the research team that one can easily connect to a smartphone to display the results of the analysis. The journal further asserted that “The paper-based electrochemical sensor within the device consisted of graphene nanoplatelets doped with nitrogen atoms to improve their electrical conductivity. When the team added a drop of diluted capsaicin to the sensor, the compound underwent oxidation and reduction reactions, producing an electrical current that the device detected.”
Once the sensor was optimized, the researcher team used it to check capsaicin concentrations in six dried chili samples. The team further “added the chilies to an ethanol-containing solution, shook it up and then introduced a drop of the sample. The device accurately measured capsaicin concentrations from 7.5-90 μM in the six samples, and could detect down to 0.37 μM in the diluted samples.”
Isn’t this chili-shaped portable device an interesting kitchen gadget that will save you from spicy hot food? Do let us know your views in the comment section below.
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