Do you know someone who brings their own hot chilli sauce to restaurants and friends’ houses? Are you that person? What makes that burning taste sensation hurt so good?
Capsaicin is what makes chilli peppers taste hot.
Human attraction to spicy food makes us an anomaly amongst mammals. Chilli is one of the most popular spices in our cuisines, but how the affinity for chilli appeared is a mystery.
David Julius, one of the two recipients of the 2021 medicine Nobel Prize, used the active component in chile peppers to study how the brain senses heat.
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The joint award recognizes the long road to deciphering the biology behind the brain’s ability to sense its surroundings – work that paves the way for a number of medical and biological breakthroughs.
Eating super hot chilli peppers can cause discomfort, but there do not seem to be any long-term dangers.
Chemicals found in food and solar cell technology have an interesting history – as my own research shows.
Pepper spray uses a chemical called capsaicin. It’s the same compound that makes chillies hot, but in a more intense, weaponised form.
The smell of daffodils is a treat for most people, but some cannot experience the joy because they have lost their sense of smell.
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Our senses of taste and smell are linked to one another in ways that experts are continuing to explore. See if you can answer some questions for which experts have discovered some surprising answers.
Chilli might make it seem as though your face is on fire – so why is milk so soothing?
Andrés Nieto Porras
Whether it’s a few flakes on a pizza or the spiciest vindaloo known to humankind, most people can tolerate or even enjoy the tingling, burning sensation chilli can bring. So how does chilli deliver its…