Chilli (Capsicum spp.)

Picture it...

Forget oranges and lemons… If you are looking for high doses of Vitamin C and other useful vitamins and minerals, together with antimicrobial and antifungal agents, the chilli fruit packs a punch. And one of its key ingredients is strong enough even to keep bears and elephants away.

1. In the main image for this article you can see one of the most common pieces of laboratory glassware, a beaker, filled with a selection of chillis bought in a UK supermarket. Next to it is a representation of the molecule capsaicin, which is one of the main components giving you a sensation of spicy heat when you eat a chilli. Interestingly, while mammals experience a strong, and sometimes even painful sensation of heat, birds are unlikely to feel the same, because their physiology is different and they cannot taste chilli heat. Different species of chilli, which have evolved in isolation…

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