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Concept: Red Hot Chili Peppers


The evidence base for the health effects of spice consumption is insufficient, with only one large population-based study and no reports from Europe or North America. Our objective was to analyze the association between consumption of hot red chili peppers and mortality, using a population-based prospective cohort from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III, a representative sample of US noninstitutionalized adults, in which participants were surveyed from 1988 to 1994. The frequency of hot red chili pepper consumption was measured in 16,179 participants at least 18 years of age. Total and cause-specific mortality were the main outcome measures. During 273,877 person-years of follow-up (median 18.9 years), a total of 4,946 deaths were observed. Total mortality for participants who consumed hot red chili peppers was 21.6% compared to 33.6% for those who did not (absolute risk reduction of 12%; relative risk of 0.64). Adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, and clinical characteristics, the hazard ratio was 0.87 (P = 0.01; 95% Confidence Interval 0.77, 0.97). Consumption of hot red chili peppers was associated with a 13% reduction in the instantaneous hazard of death. Similar, but statistically nonsignificant trends were seen for deaths from vascular disease, but not from other causes. In this large population-based prospective study, the consumption of hot red chili pepper was associated with reduced mortality. Hot red chili peppers may be a beneficial component of the diet.

Concepts: Cohort study, Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Relative risk, Chili pepper, Black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Red Hot Chili Peppers


Capsicum (Solanaceae), native to the tropical and temperate Americas, comprises the well-known sweet and hot chili peppers and several wild species. So far, only partial taxonomic and phylogenetic analyses have been done for the genus. Here, the phylogenetic relationships between nearly all taxa of Capsicum were explored to test the monophyly of the genus and to obtain a better knowledge of species relationships, diversification and expansion.

Concepts: Biology, Species, Phylogenetic tree, Phylogenetics, Solanaceae, Capsicum, Chili pepper, Red Hot Chili Peppers


Snow sports (alpine skiing/snowboarding) would benefit from easily implemented and cost-effective injury prevention countermeasures that are effective in reducing injury rate and severity.

Concepts: Injury prevention, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Haddon Matrix


Capsaicin is a principal component of hot red peppers and chili peppers. Previous studies have reported that capsaicin exhibits antitumor functions in a variety of tumor models. Although various mechanisms underlying the capsaicin‑mediated inhibition of tumor growth have been demonstrated, the impact of capsaicin on tumor metabolism has rarely been reported. The present study demonstrated that capsaicin exhibited an inhibitory effect on tumor glycolysis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cells. Following treatment with capsaicin, glucose consumption and lactate production in ESCC cells was decreased. Capsaicin resulted in a decrease of hexokinase‑2 (HK‑2) expression, which is known for its important role in tumor glycolysis. Further investigations demonstrated that phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) expression was increased in ESCC cells treated with capsaicin, and that the RAC‑α serine threonine‑protein kinase signaling pathway was downregulated. In PTEN‑knockdown KYSE150 cells, the decrease in HK‑2 and inhibition of glycolysis caused by capsaicin was attenuated, which suggested that the impact of capsaicin on tumor metabolism was associated with its effect on PTEN.

Concepts: Protein, Cancer, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Organism, Squamous cell carcinoma, Chili pepper, Red Hot Chili Peppers


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted a survey to evaluate Salmonella prevalence and aerobic plate counts in packaged (dried) spices offered for sale at retail establishments in the United States. The study included 7,250 retail samples of 11 spice types that were collected during November 2013 to September 2014 and October 2014 to March 2015. No Salmonella-positive samples (based on analysis of 125 g) were found among retail samples of cumin seed (whole or ground), sesame seed (whole, not roasted or toasted, and not black), and white pepper (ground or cracked), for prevalence estimates of 0.00% with 95% Clopper and Pearson’s confidence intervals of 0.00 to 0.67%, 0.00 to 0.70%, and 0.00 to 0.63%, respectively. Salmonella prevalence estimates (confidence intervals) for the other eight spice types were 0.19% (0.0048 to 1.1%) for basil leaf (whole, ground, crushed, or flakes), 0.24% (0.049 to 0.69%) for black pepper (whole, ground, or cracked), 0.56% (0.11 to 1.6%) for coriander seed (ground), 0.19% (0.0049 to 1.1%) for curry powder (ground mixture of spices), 0.49% (0.10 to 1.4%) for dehydrated garlic (powder, granules, or flakes), 0.15% (0.0038 to 0.83%) for oregano leaf (whole, ground, crushed, or flakes), 0.25% (0.03 to 0.88%) for paprika (ground or cracked), and 0.64% (0.17 to 1.6%) for red pepper (hot red pepper, e.g., chili, cayenne; ground, cracked, crushed, or flakes). Salmonella isolates were serotyped, and genomes were sequenced. Samples of these same 11 spice types were also examined from shipments of imported spices offered for entry to the United States from 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2015. Salmonella prevalence estimates (based on analysis of two 375-g composite samples) for shipments of imported spices were 1.7 to 18%. The Salmonella prevalence estimates for spices offered for sale at retail establishments for all of the spice types except dehydrated garlic and basil were significantly lower than estimates for shipments of imported spice offered for entry.

Concepts: Black pepper, Spice, Cumin, Curry powder, Curry, Spices, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Garam masala


The effects of various levels of chili pepper, Sichuan pepper, and black pepper on the amounts of 17 heterocyclic amines (HAs) from seven categories of both free and protein-bound states in roast beef patties were assessed by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry combined with principal component analysis. Three groups of HA, including imidazopyridines (DMIP), imidazoquinoxalines (MeIQx and 4,8-MeIQx), and β-carbolines (norharman and harman), were detected and quantified in both their free and protein-bound states, whereas PhIP was detected only in its free state, and imidazoquinolines (IQ, IQ[4,5-b], and MeIQ), α-carbolines (AαC and MeAαC), and phenylpyridines (Phe-P-1) were detected only in their protein-bound states. The results demonstrate that the peppers at all three levels had significant inhibitory effects on free PhIP, DMIP, MeIQx, and 4,8-DiMeIQx and could promote free norharman. Harman was significantly suppressed by chili pepper and black pepper, but enhanced by Sichuan pepper. All 11 protein-bound HAs, with the exception of IQ, IQ[4,5-b], and MeIQx with added chili pepper, were significantly reduced by the three peppers. The total amounts of the free and protein-bound states of all 11 HAs (1692.4 ± 78.9 ng g(-1)), imidazopyridines (5.5 ± 0.2 ng g(-1)), imidazoquinolines (7.2 ± 0.2 ng g(-1)), imidazoquinoxalines (6.9 ± 0.2 ng g(-1)), α-carbolines (20.1 ± 0.4 ng g(-1)), and β-carbolines (1651.7 ± 79.5 ng g(-1)) were suppressed by each level of all of the three peppers except for 0.5% and 1.0% chili pepper. Our findings may facilitate the inhibition of HA formation in the processing of meat products.

Concepts: Principal component analysis, Beef, Meat, Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, Medicinal plants, Chili pepper, Black pepper, Red Hot Chili Peppers


The recent detection of nuts (including peanut) in spices across the globe has led to enormous recalls of several spices and food products in the last two years. The lack of validated detection methods specific for spices makes it difficult to assess allergen presence at trace levels. Because of the urgent need for confirmation of possible peanut presence in chili peppers, an LC-MS/MS method was optimized and developed for this particular food matrix. Although several studies optimized LC-MS detection strategies specific for peanuts, the presence of complex components in the spices (e.g., phenolic components) makes method optimization and validation necessarily. Focus was laid on validation of the method with real incurred chili peppers (whereby a known amount of peanut is added) at low concentrations, to deal with possible matrix interferences. LC-MS/MS proves to be a good alternative to the currently most applied methods (ELISA and RT-PCR) and can be used as a complementary method of analysis when results are unclear. Peanut marker peptides were selected based on their abundancy in digested incurred chili peppers. The limit of detection was determined to be 24 ppm (mg peanut/kg), a level whereby the risk for potential allergic reactions is zero, considering the typical portion size of spices. The chili pepper powder under investigation proved to contain low levels of peanuts after LC-MS/MS, ELISA, and RT-PCR testing. Graphical abstract Standard curve of the detected peanuts in chili pepper samples using the novel LC-MS/MS method.

Concepts: Asthma, Allergy, Fruit, Peanut, Chili pepper, Black pepper, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chili powder


Capsaicin, the pungent alkaloid of the chili peppers, has gained a worldwide reputation. In addition to its culinary assets, capsaicin possesses analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and even carcinopreventive properties. Considering the linkage between chronic inflammation and tumorigenesis, the aim of the study was to evaluate the role of capsaicin in the immune interplay between human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and HT-29 or RKO cells from human colon carcinoma lines.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Cancer, PBMC, Capsaicin, Chili pepper, Black pepper, Red Hot Chili Peppers


The study of fungal contamination in food and mycotoxicoses is a priority today, both internationally and nationally. The purpose of this study is to have a general view over the quality of the most common spices that are sold in Romanian markets, by assessing the degree of fungal, bacterial and mycotoxin contamination in pepper and chili powders.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Infection, Fungus, Mycotoxin, Italian language, Black pepper, Red Hot Chili Peppers


Capsaicin, which is the pungent ingredient of red hot chili peppers, has been reported to possess anticancer activity, including that against hepatocellular carcinoma. However, the precise molecular mechanisms by which capsaicin exerts its anticancer effects remain poorly understood. Herein, we have tested the involvement of autophagy in the capsaicin mechanism of action in human hepatocellular carcinoma. HepG2 cancer cells were treated with different doses of capsaicin (50, 100, and 200μmol/L) for 6, 12, and 24 h. Flow cytometry and Caspase-3 activity assay were performed to determine cell apoptosis. Immunofluorescence was performed to visualize LC3-positive puncta. Western blotting was used to detect the expression of the hallmarks of apoptosis and autophagy. Capsaicin can induce apoptosis in HepG2 cells. The expression levels of CL-PARP and Bcl-2 were significantly increased. In line with the apoptosis, capsaicin can trigger autophagy in HepG2 cells. Capsaicin increased LC3-II and beclin-1 expression and GFP-LC3-positive autophagosomes. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of autophagy further sensitized HepG2 cells to capsaicin-induced apoptosis. Mechanistically, capsaicin up-regulated Stat3 activity which contributed to autophagy. Importantly, we found that capsaicin triggered ROS generation in hepatoma cells and that the levels of ROS decreased with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a ROS scavenger. Moreover, NAC abrogated the effects of capsaicin on Stat3-dependent autophagy. In this study, we demonstrated that capsaicin increased the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (p-STAT3)-dependent autophagy through the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling pathways in human hepatoma. Inhibiting autophagy could enhance capsaicin-induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene expression, Cancer, Signal transduction, Apoptosis, Transcription factor, Cisplatin, Red Hot Chili Peppers