JORHAT, Sept 13 - Known worldwide after it was listed in the Guinness World Records in 2007 for being the hottest chilli on earth, Assam’s ‘super hot’ bhot jolokia has been gradually losing its most important properties of hotness and pungent flavour due to cross-pollination and certain changes in farming system in the region, revealed a latest scientific study by a group of agricultural scientists.
According to the findings of some scientists of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) here, in the last eight years the pungent quality of the king chilly has come down to a lower level in the Scoville scale, which is used to measure the spicy heat of chilli.
“In 2008, we recorded its heat as 1.5 million Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) which gradually came down to 0.4 million SHU most recently. The data were collected from different locations. Our studies have found that bhot jolokia has been gradually losing its unique properties of being super-hot,” said Dr GN Hazarika, Director of Research (Agriculture), AAU.
Because of its high pungency degree, the bhot jolokia of Assam has been on high demand as it is used by defence laboratories to produce non-lethal chilli grenades to flush out terrorists at impenetrable locations, as also smoke grenades to control riot-like situations.
Moreover, for its unique spicy flavour and heat, king chilly pickle is very popular among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike in several Asian and European countries. The bhot jolokia is also used to keep wild elephants away from the agricultural land.
Though it was recorded as the hottest chilli in the world, bhot jolokia has now come down to the third position in the global list as it was superseded by Carolina Reaper of the USA and Trinidad moruga scorpion of Trinidad and Tobago, said an agricultural scientist.
Though agricultural scientists have opined that cross-pollination of flowers with different kinds of chillies and changing farming patterns in the State have changed the scale of bhot jolokia heat, they are yet to confirm whether any factor like frequent changes in agro-climatic conditions caused a major impact on the qualities of the king chilly.
“We are now taking up some scientific works to maintain the original degree of pungency of bhot jolokia which we found eight years back,” said Dr Hazarika.