What is it Spicy? Discussed With The Approach Of Chemistry

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Many people of Indonesia who like spicy. Some food and restaurants even offer spicy as uniqueness and value them. In previous writings, has discussed about the sweet. This time will discuss about the spicy. What it really spicy?


The Molecular Structure Of Capsaicin

Spicy is chemically induced by the presence of Capsaicin or scientific name of (E)-[(4-Hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)methyl]N-methylnon-8-6-enamide. Colorless and odorless capsaicin are found in the tissues that connect between the seeds of chilies and fruit flesh. Spicy hot or not related to the temperature of the food. However, the spicy this because Capsaicin receptor stimulation to give that receive stimuli. Capsaicin receptor TRPV1 bind to. This receptor also detect sour, bitter foods, foods with temperature above 43 C and the boiling water which can potentially damage the tissues of the body. After we eat spicy foods, capsaicin receptor TRPV1 will bind to and then send signals to the brain. The brain will process and give commands to the body to immediately pull out of these chemicals from the body by drinking water and the expression of Puckered us.

A growing number of eating spicy food, then the more the amount of capsaicin also bound. The level of spiciness of a food can measure with a scale of Scoville. Pure capsaicin is at a scale of approximately 15-20 million Scoville. types of Red savina habanero chilli scale 577 thousand units of Scoville, a type of chili pepper in India, Naga jolokia that reach 855 thousand Scoville and The Carolina Reaper has the scale to 20 million Scoville.

To reduce the spicy taste after eating spicy foods, drinking milk would be more effective as compared to drinking water. If seen from the molecular structure of Capsaicin, Capsaicin is a hydrocarbon with a non polar tails. A non polar substances dissolve in non polar substances dissolve in substance not zan polar. Water is a polar substance therefore cannot dissolve milk contains casein while Capsaicin and fat is non polar so that it will dissolve the capsaicin. Also interesting are Casein molecules such as capsaicin capsaicin that absorbs absorben of TRPV1 receptors. Drink water to lose the taste of spicy after eating spicy foods such as oil dissolves in water. Water will make the capsaicin the more spread out in the tongue.


Caterina, m. j. et al. 1997, Nature 389, 816-824 doi: 10.1038/39807

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Read also what is it sweet? Discussed with the Chemical Approach

Abdul Halim

Abdul Halim

Menamatkan program ST dan MT di Jurusan Teknik Kimia ITS. Sedang menempuh PhD di University of Tsukuba. Meneliti pemanfaatan bio-nanomaterial untuk pengolahan limbah cair.
Abdul Halim
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