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Bhut Jolokia chili
Fresh Bhut Jolokia Peppers (whole and cut)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. chinense, C. frutescens
Subspecies: C. c. cultivar Bhut Jolokia
Trinomial name
Capsicum chinense 'Bhut Jolokia'

The bhut jolokia—also known variously by other names in its native region (see below), most commonly Naga jolokia — is a chili pepper generally recognized as the hottest in the world. The pepper is sometimes called the Ghost pepper by Western media,[1][2][3] possibly erroneously.[4]

The Bhut Jolokia is a naturally-occurring interspecific hybrid from the Assam region of northeastern India.[5][6] It grows in the Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur, and the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. There was initially some confusion and disagreement about whether the Bhut was a Capsicum frutescens[7] or a Capsicum chinense pepper, however DNA tests demonstrated it is an interspecies hybrid, mostly C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes.[8] In 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia as the world's hottest chili pepper, replacing the previous record holder, the Red Savina, a particularly hot strain of habanero chili.

Contents

Etymology

The pepper is called different names in different regions. An article in the Asian Age newspaper stated that experts in Assam are worried about a distortion of the colloquial nomenclature of "Bhot" to "bhut", saying that this word was misinterpreted by the (Western) media to mean "ghost".[4] The article stated that people living north of the Brahmaputra River call the pepper "Bhot jolokia", "Bhot" meaning "of Bhotiya origin", or something that has come from the hills of adjoining Bhutan; on the southern bank of the river Brahmaputra, this chili becomes Naga jolokia, believed to have originated from the hills of Nagaland.[4] An alternative source for Naga jolokia is that the name originates from the ferocious Naga warriors who once inhabited Nagaland.[9] Further complicating matters, a 2009 paper, published in the Asian Agri-History journal, coined the English term "Naga king chili" and stated that the most common Indian (Assamese) usage is bhoot jolokia,[10][11] which refers to the chili's large pod size, and gives the alternate common name as bih jolokia (bih means "poison" in Assamese, denoting the plant's heat). The assertion that bhut (bhoot) means "ghost" is claimed by researchers from the New Mexico State University, but as in the article from the Asian Age, denied by Indian researchers from Nagaland University.[10][8] The Assamese word "jolokia" simply means the Capsicum pepper.[8][12] The chili is also known as Naga morich in Bangladesh (morich meaning "pepper").[13] Other usages on the subcontinent are saga jolokia, Indian mystery chili, and Indian rough chili (after the chili's rough skin).[10][14] It has also been called the Tezpur chili after the Assamese city Tezpur.[9] In Manipur, the chili is called umorok,[15] or oo-morok (oo = "tree", morok = "chili").

Scoville rating

Bhut Jolokia pepper
Heat Maximum (SR: 1,041,427)

In 2000, India's Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a rating of 855,000 units on the Scoville scale,[7] and in 2004 a rating of 1,041,427 units was made using HPLC analysis.[16] For comparison, Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 2,500–5,000, and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the pungency of pepper plants) rates at 15,000,000–16,000,000 Scoville units. [17]

In 2005, at New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute near Las Cruces, New Mexico, regents Professor Paul Bosland found bhut jolokia grown from seed in southern New Mexico to have a Scoville rating of 1,001,304 SHU by HPLC.[5]

In February 2007, Guinness World Records certified the bhut jolokia as the world's hottest chili pepper.[5][18]

The effect of climate on the Scoville rating of bhut jolokia peppers is dramatic. A 2005 study comparing percentage availability of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin in bhut jolokia peppers grown in Tezpur (Assam) and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) showed that the heat of the pepper is decreased by over 50% in Gwalior's more arid climate.[19]

Characteristics

Ripe peppers measure 60 to 85 mm (2.4 to 3.3 in) long and 25 to 30 mm (1.0 to 1.2 in) wide with an orange or red color. They are similar in appearance to the habanero pepper, but have a rougher, dented skin—a main characteristic of the bhut jolokia.[20]

Plant height 45–120 cm
Stem color Green
Leaf color Green
Leaf length 10.65–14.25 cm
Leaf width 5.4–7.5 cm
Pedicels per axil 2
Corolla color Yellow green
Anther color Pale blue
Annular constriction Present below calyx
Fruit color at maturity Red
Fruit shape Sub-conical to conical
Fruit length 5.95–8.54 cm
Fruit width at shoulder 2.5–2.95 cm
Fruit weight 6.95–8.97 g
Fruit surface Rough, uneven
Seed color Light brown
1000 seed weight 0.41–0.46 g
Seeds per fruit 19–35[citation needed]
Hypocotyl color Green
Cotyledonous leaf shape Deltoid

Uses

The pepper is used as a cure for stomach ailments. It is also used as a spice as well as a remedy to summer heat, presumably by inducing perspiration in the consumer.[6] In northeastern India, the peppers are smeared on fences or incorporated in smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep wild elephants at a distance.[21][22]

In 2009, scientists at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation announced plans to use the chillies in hand grenades, as a less lethal way to control rioters.[23]

References

  1. ^ http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/photogalleries/elephant-pictures/photo4.html
  2. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LJYeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SIYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6393,9014&dq=ghost-chili&hl=en
  3. ^ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1592570,00.html
  4. ^ a b c "The Asian Age - Enjoy the difference". www.asianage.com. http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/asian-age-plus/news-plus/assam%E2%80%99s-mirch-will-help-make-chilli-grenade.aspx. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  5. ^ a b c Shaline L. Lopez (2007). "NMSU is home to the world's hottest chile pepper". http://www.nmsu.edu/~ucomm/Releases/2007/february/hottest_chile.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  6. ^ a b "'Ghost chile' burns away stomach ills - Diet & Nutrition - MSNBC.com:". Associated Press. 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20058096/. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  7. ^ a b Mathur R, et al. (2000). "The hottest chile variety in India" (PDF). Current Science 79 (3): 287–8. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/aug102000/scr974.pdf. 
  8. ^ a b c Paul W. Bosland and Jit B. Baral (2007). "'Bhut Jolokia'—The World's Hottest Known Chile Pepper is a Putative Naturally Occurring Interspecific Hybrid". Horticultural Science 42 (2): 222–4. http://cahe.nmsu.edu/chilepepperinstitute/documents/bhutjolokia.pdf. 
  9. ^ a b Dave DeWitt, Dave DeWitt coauthors=Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book. Timber Press. pp. 158. ISBN 0881929204. http://books.google.com/books?id=90M5Tw0530gC&pg=PA158. 
  10. ^ a b c Raktim Ranjan Bhagowati et al (2009). "Genetic Variability and Traditional Practices in Naga King Chili Landraces of Nagaland" (pdf). Asian Agri-History 13 (3): pp. 171–180. http://www.agri-history.org/pdf/171%20to%20180.pdf. 
  11. ^ "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata)". www.telegraphindia.com. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090410/jsp/northeast/story_10799180.jsp. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  12. ^ "The Hindu News Update Service". www.thehindu.com. http://www.thehindu.com/holnus/004200901051381.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  13. ^ "Can't stand the heat - Sunday Life - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk". www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/canrsquot-stand-the-heat-14501755.html. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  14. ^ "Saga Jolokia: Indian chilli acquires cult following in US- ET Cetera-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times". indiatimes.com. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News-By-Industry/ET-Cetera/Saga-Jolokia-Indian-chilli-acquires-cult-following-in-US/articleshow/4976717.cms. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  15. ^ SANATOMBI K., G. J. SHARMA (2008). "Capsaicin Content and Pungency of Different Capsicum spp. Cultivars" (pdf). Not. Bot. Hort. Agrobot. Cluj. 36 (2): pp. 89–90. http://usamvd.e-cat.ro/docs/not.bot/2008_XXXVI_II/2008_2_Not.Bot.Hort.Agro.Bot._XXXVI_89-90.pdf. 
  16. ^ "Bih jolokia". 2006. http://www.frontalagritech.co.in/products/bihjolokia_gen.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  17. ^ Uhl (1996), op. cit. "The HPLC measures the capsaicinoid(s) in ppm, which can then be converted to Scoville units using a conversion factor of 15, 20 or 30 depending on the capsaicinoid." This would make capsaicin 15,000,000
  18. ^ "Indian chile world's hottest: Guinness". 2007. http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14391202. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  19. ^ Tiwari A, et al. (2005). "Adaptability and production of hottest chile variety under Gwalior climatic conditions" (PDF). Current Science 88 (10): 1545–6. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/may252005/1545.pdf. 
  20. ^ Barker, Catherine L. (2007), "Hot Pod: World's Hottest", National Geographic Magazine 2007 (May): 21 
  21. ^ Hussain, Wasbir (2007-11-20). "World's Hottest Chile Used as Elephant Repellent". National Geographic. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/071120-AP-india-elephants.html. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  22. ^ "Ghost Chile Scares Off Elephants". National Geographic News website. National Geographic. 2007-11-20. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/photogalleries/elephant-pictures. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  23. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8119591.stm

Naga Jolokia chili
File:Naga Jolokia
Fresh Naga Jolokia Peppers (whole and cut)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. chinense / C. frutescens
Subspecies: C. c. cultivar Naga Jolokia
Trinomial name
Capsicum chinense 'Naga Jolokia'

Heat: Peak (SR: 1,041,427)
The Naga Jolokia (English: King Cobra Chili) — also known as Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Chili, Ghost Pepper, Naga Morich — is a chili pepper. It is a naturally occurring inter-specific hybrid originating in the Assam region of northeastern India.[1],[2] It also grows in the Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur. In 2007, it was confirmed by Guinness World Records to be the hottest chili in the world, replacing the Red Savina. Disagreement has arisen on whether it is a Capsicum frutescens or a Capsicum chinense. Some claim it is a C. frutescens,[3] but recent DNA tests have found that it is an interspecies hybrid, mostly C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes.[4]

Contents

Nomenclature

The Assamese word ‘‘jolokia’’ means the Capsicum pepper.[4] The word Nāga means "King Cobra" in Sanskrit. The pepper is thought to originate from Nagaland in north-eastern India, and was originally named by the Naga people after the most venomous snake found in the region. The pepper's fierce "bite" is akin to the venom of a king cobra. It's also known as Naga Morich in Bangladesh and Bih Jolokia in the Indian state of Assam (Bih = 'poison', Jolokia = 'chili pepper'; in Assamese). Other names are Bhut Jolokia (Bhut = 'ghost', probably due to its ghostly bite or introduction by the Bhutias from Bhutan poison chili), Oo-Morok in Manipur (Oo = 'Tree', 'Oo' pronounced as in Book, Morok = 'Chilli'), Borbih Jolokia, Nagahari, Nagajolokia, Naga Moresh and Raja Mirchi ('King of Chillies'). Regardless of the nomenclature, they all refer to the same plant.

Ripe peppers measure 60 mm (2.4 in) to 85 mm (3.3 in) long and 25 mm (1.0 in) to 30 mm (1.2 in) wide with an orange or red color. They are similar in appearance to the Habanero pepper, but have a rougher, dented skin - a main characteristic of the Naga.[5]

Scoville rating

In 2000, scientists at India's Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a rating of 855,000 units on the Scoville scale,[3] and in 2004 an Indian company obtained a rating of 1,041,427 units through HPLC analysis.[6] This makes it almost twice as hot as the Red Savina pepper, Guinness World Record holder at that time. For comparison, pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the pungency of pepper plants) rates at 15,000,000–16,000,000 Scoville units.

In 2005 at New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute near Las Cruces, New Mexico, Regents Professor Paul Bosland found Naga Jolokia grown from seed in southern New Mexico to have a Scoville rating of 1,001,304 SHU by HPLC.[1]

In February 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia (Prof. Bosland's preferred name for the pepper) as the world's hottest chili pepper.[1][7]

The effect of climate on the Scoville rating of Naga Jolokia peppers is dramatic. A 2005 Indian study that compared the percentage availability of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin in Naga Jolokia peppers grown in both Tezpur (Assam) and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) showed that the heat of the pepper is decreased by over 50% in Gwalior's more arid climate (similar temperatures but less humid, much lower rainfall).[8]

Characteristics

Plant height 45-120 cm
Stem color Green
Leaf color Green
Leaf length 10.65-14.25 cm
Leaf width 5.4-7.5 cm
Pedicels/axil 2
Corolla color Yellow green
Another color Pale blue
Yet another color Purple
Annular constriction Present below calyx
Fruit color at maturity Red
Fruit shape Sub-conical to conical
Fruit length 5.95-8.54 cm
Fruit width at shoulder 2.5-2.95 cm
Fruit weight 6.95-8.97 g
Fruit surface Rough, uneven
Seed color Light brown
1000 seed weight 0.41-0.46 g
Seeds/fruit 19.22-34.15
Hypocotyl color Green
Cotyledonous leaf shape Deltoid

Uses

The pepper is used as a spice in food or eaten alone. One seed from a Naga Jolokia can produce sustained intense pain sensations in the mouth for up to 30 minutes before subsiding. Extreme care should be taken when ingesting the pepper and its seeds, so as to not get it in the eyes. It is used as a cure for stomach ailments. It is also used as a remedy to summer heat, presumably by inducing perspiration. [9] In northeastern India the peppers are smeared on fences or used in smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep wild elephants at a distance.[10] [11]

In 2009, Indian defense scientists claimed to have found a new place to use the chilies -- in hand grenades. The scientists aim to use the Chillies to control rioters to immobilize people without killing them.[12]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Shaline L. Lopez (2007). "NMSU is home to the world’s hottest chile pepper" (html). http://www.nmsu.edu/~ucomm/Releases/2007/february/hottest_chile.htm. Retrieved on 2007-02-21. 
  2. "‘Ghost chili’ burns away stomach ills - Diet & Nutrition - MSNBC.com:" (html). Associated Press. 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20058096/. Retrieved on 2007-08-05. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mathur R, et al. (2000). "The hottest chili variety in India" (PDF). Current Science 79 (3): 287–8. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/aug102000/scr974.pdf. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Paul W. Bosland and Jit B. Baral (2007). "‘Bhut Jolokia’—The World’s Hottest Known Chile Pepper is a Putative Naturally Occurring Interspecific Hybrid". Horticultural Science 42 (2): 222-4. http://cahe.nmsu.edu/chilepepperinstitute/documents/bhutjolokia.pdf. 
  5. Barker, Catherine L. (2007), "Hot Pod: World's Hottest", National Geographic Magazine 2007 (May): 21 
  6. "Bih jolokia" (html). 2006. http://www.frontalagritech.co.in/products/bihjolokia_gen.htm. Retrieved on 2006-12-12. 
  7. "Indian chilli world's hottest: Guinness" (html). 2007. http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14391202. Retrieved on 2007-02-18. 
  8. Tiwari A, et al. (2005). "Adaptability and production of hottest chili variety under Gwalior climatic conditions" (PDF). Current Science 88 (10): 1545–6. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/may252005/1545.pdf. 
  9. "‘Ghost chili’ burns away stomach ills - Diet & Nutrition - MSNBC.com:" (html). Associated Press. 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20058096/. Retrieved on 2007-08-05. 
  10. Hussain, Wasbir (2007-11-20). "World's Hottest Chili Used as Elephant Repellent". National Geographic. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/071120-AP-india-elephants.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-21. 
  11. "Ghost Chili Scares Off Elephants". National Geographic News website. National Geographic. 2007-11-20. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/photogalleries/elephant-pictures. Retrieved on 2008-08-18. 
  12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8119591.stm








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