Chillies: A Red Hot Export?

By
Thursday, 17 August, 2000

Researchers at Adelaide University's Waite Campus have been developing horticultural techniques to grow chillies in South Australia. As well as its economic importance, the research has health implications, as 80% of samples of chilli-based spices imported to Australia have been found to be contaminated with the potent cancer-causing agent, aflatoxin.

Chillies are the fruit of various capsicum species, a diverse group which produces not only capsicums, but spices such as chilli, prepared by drying the fruit and grinding it to a powder. These spices provide the characteristic hotness of Asian and South American foods.

Chillies originated in South America. While they now grow worldwide, the warmer sub-tropical regions produce the hottest chillies, with Habanero chilli being the hottest - far hotter than green and red capsicums.

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