The Body



Chilli fun

Chilli Use


Chemical Analysis of Chillies

There has been much academic research into chillies. They are used in anti-mugging sprays, and medication for arthritis.

The amount of capsaicinoids in a pepper can be         determined by HPLC (High Performance Liquid          Chromatography), using this method:

  • The sample is refluxed with ethanol for 5 hours, and the resultant mixture filtered

  • The HPLC machine is standardised with oleoresins

  • A 20mL sample is injected into the machine

A chromatogram like this will be produced:

Used without permission from the Trigeminal Response Page. For full      details of procedure please visit this page.

The various capsaicinoids have only recently been identified as individual compounds.  This was done with GC-MS, a technique which allows the determination of the structure of individual compounds within a mixture.

This method allows the amount of individual capsaicinoids to be determined. From this the pepper can be classified on the Scoville scale. The relative retention times of some capsaicinoids are:

N-vanillyl-n-nonanamide, 1.00;

nordihydrocapsaicin, 0.90;

capsaicin, 1.00;

dihydrocapsaicin, 1.58