Determination of Capsaicin Content and Pungency Level of Different Fresh and Dried Chilli Peppers

P. Popelka 1 , P. Jevinová 1 , K. Šmejkal 2  and P. Roba 1
  • 1 University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, , Košice, Slovakia
  • 2 University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno, , Brno, Czechia


One of the traditional plants that have so many pharmacological effects is chilli fruit (Capsicum sp.) that belong to the family Solanaceae. Around the world, five varieties of Capsicum are known, i. e., C. annuum, C. frutescens, C. chinense, C. baccatum, and C. pubescens. Chilli peppers are known for causing the sensation of heat or burning when consumed. The heat sensation is incited by the type and the amount of a group of capsaicinoids; the alkaloids found only in chilli pepper pods. A widely used heat measurement of chilli peppers is the SHU (Scoville Heating Unit). This measurement is the highest dilution of a chilli pepper extract at which heat can be detected by a taste panel. Nowadays, the Scoville organoleptic test has been largely replaced by chromatographic methods which are considered to be more reliable and accurate. The HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) method was used for the determination of capsaicin content in various fresh and dried peppers from the genera C. chinense. Currently, based on the results of HPLC, the hottest pepper has been Bhut Jolokia, followed by Habanero Red Savina and Habanero Yellow etc. The content of capsaicin in dried chillies is 7-10 times higher compared to fresh ones.

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