Thursday, March 11, 2010

India’s ‘Hottest’ New Weapons Powered by Chilli

bhut_jolokiaIndia’s military is getting ready to deploy weapons-grade chillis for counter-insurgency and riot control. The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is harnessing the super-hot bhut jolokia chilli pepper as an alternative to tear gas as a filling for grenades, Asia Times notes.

Chili-based weapons have been around for years — think “pepper spray” — and are gaining popularity in the U.S. The bhut jolokia could take the spicy arms up several notches; it is rated the hottest chili in the world.

The active ingredient in chillis is Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), a complex mixture of organic compounds. Aficionados rate the hotness of chills using the Scoville scale, which measures the amount of dilution needed before the heat is no longer detectable to a panel of tasters. Bell peppers have a rating of zero, Jalapenos can rate up to 8,000, and Habanero and scotch bonnets a blistering 100,000. The Jolokia rates just over a million on this scale. (Existing OC “pepper pray” weapons using the refined product go over two million Scoville units.)

Capsaicin is nature’s own chemical weapon, targeting specific vulnerable nerve cells and generating the feeling of severe burning — without actual damage. OC causes immediate inflammation of skin and mucous membranes: instantly, eyes shut and breathing becomes difficult. Couple that with the burning sensation, and you have one extremely unhappy camper. Continue Reading “India’s ‘Hottest’ New Weapons Powered by Chilli” »


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