What’s So Hot About Chili Peppers?

We love chili peppers, the hotter, the better! The ingredient that gives spicy peppers their heat is capsaicin, but what is the purpose of capsaicin in nature? To find the answer, ecologist Joshua Tewksbury traveled to Bolivia, home of many kinds of peppers.
"Capsaicin demonstrates the incredible elegance of evolution," says Tewksbury. The specialized chemical deters microbes—humans harness this ability when they use chilies to preserve food—but capsaicin doesn't deter birds from eating chili fruits and spreading seeds. "Once in a while, the complex, often conflicting demands that natural selection places on complex traits results in a truly elegant solution. This is one of those times."

Link -via Boing Boing

(image credit: Tomás Carlo)

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

@ Darena - Birds can eat it because their tongues are different than mammalian tongues. They do not have the same pain receptors.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I don’t think that the fact that the spice repels microbes, but the birds can eat it freely, is an example of the elegance of revolution, but God has thought of everything. Our world was wisely created.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I don't think that the fact that the spice repels microbes, but the birds can eat it freely, is not an example of the elegance of revolution, but God has thought of everything. Our world was wisely created.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.


Email This Post to a Friend
"What’s So Hot About Chili Peppers?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window
X

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More