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The Gut Wrenching Science Behind The World’s Hottest Peppers

754 words - 4 pages

Angela Cheung
Title of the article: The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers
Nagaland of India contains one of the world’s hottest chilies – the Naga King Chili (Bhut Jolokia). The author of the article, Mary Roach, arrived to Nagaland to experience the Hornbill Festival, in particular, to watch the Naga King Chili-Eating Competition. She aimed to find out and understand the pleasure and pain the Capsicum genus brings to the people who consume it. The Naga King Chili Pepper varies in heat, but can score extremely high on the Scoville heat unit. The contestants of the chili-eating contest began to suffer from the effect of the capsaicin in their digestive tracts. ...view middle of the document...

This relates to lecture when we learned about how genes and environment has an effect on a phenotype. Sometimes, one element overpowers another. In this case, environment has a greater effect than genetics. A person’s environment, exposure to capsaicin (both frequency and hotness) has a greater effect on a person’s tolerance than their biological makeup. Also, it was mentioned in lecture, there are supertasters, tasters, and nontasters. Supertasters have smaller and more papillae on their tongue, which makes their sensitivity to tastes heighten. For nontasters, the opposite is true. They have bigger and less papillae on their tongues, making them less sensitive to tastes. Supertasters would be less tolerant to chilies like the Naga King Chili because of their heighten senses, on the other hand, nontasters would be less sensitive and would probably find the Naga King Chili more tolerable.
Relationship with the Tomorrow’s Table topic:
Tomorrow’s Table suggests that organic farming as well as genetic engineering of plants can help solve some of today’s food problems. At the end of the article, it was said that growing conditions heavily affect the ways chilies turn out. The hotness of the chilies can change drastically...

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