Experts at the New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute have named the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper the world’s hottest. This golf ball sized, sweat inducing, mouth on fire pepper has been found to top the Scoville heat scale at more than 1.2 million units, while some have gone as high as 2 million heat units.
The Chile Pepper Institute, which is part of the College of Agriculture at the university, was pushed by those in the spicy foods market to determine the hottest peppers by establishing their average heat levels. Paul Bosland, a pepper expert and head of the institute led the research.
The top five hottest varieties were selected. The winner, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was planted along with, the Trinidad Scorpion, the 7 Pot, the Chocolate 7 Pot, and also the Bhut Jolokia. The Bhut Jolokia was a previous record holder, being named in the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest pepper.
The team planted 125 plants of each variety. They were then harvested, dried, and ground to a powder. Experts then extracted the capaicinoids, the compound that produces the pepper’s heat. These were studied individually to determine where the pepper fell on the heat scale. According to one expert, the capaicinoids produced such intense heat that during the study their latex gloves were not a strong enough barrier.