What is Pungency?

The pungency or heat or spiciness within a chilli is down to capsaicin content. The largest amount of capsaicin is found in the white pith tissue that surrounds the seeds. The outer fleshy part of the fruit has significantly less and there is almost none in the seeds.

Flame Pungency heat and spiceness Thermometer

How is Pungency measured?

Pungency is traditionally and commonly measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU) and alternatively by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). SHU is a subjective form of analysis undertaken by trained operatives and HPLC is an objective form of analysis undertaken in a laboratory.


What affects Pungency?

  • Although the capsaicin content of chillies is influenced by genetics, there are other factors which impact significantly.
  • Pungency can vary up to 50% between harvests due to soil composition, fertilization, temperature, and water stress such as drought, also chillies become more pungent the longer they remain on the plant.

The Chilli Doctor Team Manage Pungency

  • Sales and Technical can improve customer awareness and understanding of the causes of pungency variation.
  • The Technical Team provides product specifications with typical pungency information to avoid misleading end users.
  • Approved suppliers who are also growers, are experienced and minimise pungency variation.
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