London software testing news UK

Red Hot Testing Model

Posted in General by testing in London on August 16, 2007

From Indian Muslims

Testers will no longer have to torture their taste buds now that testing chilli’s for hotness has gone digital. A team of chemists has developed a mathematical computer model to measure the “heat” inside a chili pepper, a process that could provide quicker and cheaper information to some segments of the food and drug industries and law enforcement.

Peppers are hot because of a family of chemicals named capsaicinoids. Two members of the group (capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin) make up 90 percent of the capsaicinoids. The spiciness of each pepper depends on the relative amounts of these hot compounds hidden inside the pepper’s flesh.

“Capsaicinoids are the active ingredient in pepper spray, tear gas and some arthritis medications, not to mention spices and foods like salsa, so a wide range of industries could find this new approach useful,” said lead scientist Kenneth Busch, a chemist at Baylor University in Texas.

Currently, the standard test of pepper hotness relies on a process called high-performance liquid chromatography. This method is expensive and time consuming (each sample can take 10 minutes to run), because the machine chemically separates all the different compounds before spitting out a reading.

Busch and his colleagues developed a computer model that can calculate the hotness of a pepper based on information gleaned from spectroscopy, which measures how a substance absorbs light. The program is set up so that when a scientist feeds a “spectra” into it, the program disregards components uninvolved in spicy heat and focuses only on the capsaicinoid factors.

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