Question on chillies

Bill Salsgiver wjsals at
Tue Nov 8 17:51:37 EST 1994

In article <39b68k$ha at>, dak at
(Dorothy Klein) wrote:

> ROGERSH < at> writes:
> >What is the name of the scientific unit for the degree of hotness of a chilli
> >and, more importantly, how is it measured? Does an international standard
> >exist?
> The hotness of chiles is measured in Scoville units, an open-ended scale
> based on the dilution factor at which the hotness is still perceived by
> taste-testers, in aqueous solution.  Habaneros rate at something like
> 10,000 (or was it 40,000?) Scoville units.  

I used to quantitate the capsaicin levels (among other things) for a food
company - usually salsa or the peppers to make the salsa.  Since the
capsaicin is ethanol soluble, I did an ethanol extration of the sample
(boiled/refluxed) for a few hours, filtered the sample, and shot it right
onto the HPLC.  The peak size was compared to a standard of so many ppm of
capsaicin.  The results were reported as both ppm and Scoville units but I
don't remember the correlation.  If the HPLC results weren't quite what
were expected (or sometimes even when they were), of course we would get
out the bag of chips and do an impromptu taste test.   :)  

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