Created a chili-shaped device for determining the sharpness of chili peppers

Chili peppers are a popular food ingredient throughout the world. Thanks to capsaicin, chili not only has

pungent spicy taste. It is also beneficial for health due to its antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for capsaicin as a dietary supplement and pharmaceutical agent. Warakorn Limbut of the Department of Life Sciences at Prince of Songkla University in Thailand and his colleagues wanted to develop a simple, accurate and low cost method for quantifying capsaicin in chili peppers and food samples. Other methods developed for this purpose are complex, labor intensive, or require expensive and cumbersome instruments.

A team of scientists has created a portable device inthe shape of a small chili. It can be connected to a smartphone to display the analysis results. The paper-based electrochemical sensor in the device consists of graphene nanoplates doped with nitrogen atoms to improve their electrical conductivity.

A chili-shaped device containing a paper-based electrochemical sensor. It can be connected to a smartphone to determine how much capsaicin is in hot peppers.
Based on materials ACS Applied Nano Materials 2020, Doi: 10.1021 / acsanm.0c02079

The researchers decided to test the device. They added a drop of diluted capsaicin to the sensor, the compound underwent oxidation and reduction reactions, resulting in an electrical current that was detected by the device. After optimizing the sensor, the scientists used it to determine the concentration of capsaicin in six dried chili peppers. They added chili to a solution containing ethanol, shaken it, and then injected a drop of the sample. The device accurately measured the capsaicin concentration from 7.5 to 90 μM in six samples.

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