Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Capsaicin: Alkaloid in capsicum

Capsaicin, the main ingredient responsible for the hot pungent taste of chili peppers, is an alkaloid (capsaicinoid) found in the Capsicum family. It causes a sensation of burning in mammalian tissue with which it comes into contact. The level of the capsaicin in the seasonal pepper is around 0.025%, and in the hot pepper around 0.25%.

Capsicum plants are native to the Americas and have been cultivated as part of its inhabitants' diet since at least 7500 BC. Capsaicin gives chili peppers their intensity or "hotness" when ingested or applied topically to the skin and is the primary ingredient in pepper spray, often used in law enforcement.

Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissues that hold the seeds in fruits and probably acts as a deterrent against herbivores. It was first isolated in 1846 and its structure determined in 1919.

It is a member of the vanilloid family of compounds such as vanillin from vanilla, eugenol from bay leaves and cloves, zingerone from ginger and capsaicin from hot peppers.

Plants from Capsicum genus produce many capsaicin-related compounds. Due to their similarity with capsaicin, these molecules can be grouped in a family called capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids include dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin, and homocapsaicin. All these molecules share structural and activity similarities with capsaicin, but they are not as abundant as capsaicin that can account for up to 80% of capsaicinoid content of chili peppers.
Capsaicin: Alkaloid in capsicum

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