UK scientists have developed a new way of finding out how hot a chilli sauce is without tasting it.
Chemists from Oxford University have come up with a technique to measure the levels of capsaicinoids, the substances that make chillies spicy.
They’re hoping that the technology could soon be made available as a cheap disposable sensor for use in the food industry.
The device is based on the Scoville rating, which measures the number of dilutions in a chilli sauce. The higher the number of dilutions, the spicier the sauce.
For instance the mild Jalapeno chilli ranges from 2,500 - 8,000, while the world's hottest chilli, the Naga Jolokia, has a rating of 1,000,000.
The new test uses carbon nanotubes and it gives a reading in less than a minute using a similar technology to that used by diabetics to test blood sugar levels.
"It is a simple little device based on nanotechnology," Professor Richard Compton, who is leading the research, told the BBC.
"We can simply dip it into the sauce and we get an electrical signal which gives us a number, which matches up with the subjective Scoville units really rather agreeably well."
By Kerstin Kühn
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