Monday, November 22, 2004

A mild Habanero, but will it kill fire ants?

Dr. Kevin M. Crosby and the folks at the Texas A&M
Agricultural Experiment Station in the Rio Grande
Valley have developed and patented the TAM Mild
Habanero, with less than half the bite of the familiar
jalapeno (which A&M scientists also previously
produced in a milder version).

In an entirely different patent, someone had patented the use of extracted peppers (containing capsaicin) as an insecticide against ants and termites.

The Scoville scale is used to measure pepper "heat." A regular jalapeno scores between 5,000 and 10,000 units on the Scoville scale of pepper hotness based on the amount of the chemical capsaicin, and a regular habanero averages around
300,000 to 400,000 units. Texas A&M's mild version registers
only 2,300, or barely one-hundredth of its coolest
formidable namesake.

There has been an attempt in Mexico, to trademark
the Yucatan habanero in the same way, say, that the
French protect Champagne and Cognac.

Capsaicin is being studied as a stroke preventive.
Other chemicals in peppers were potent antioxidants
and protected against macular degeneration.


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