Fungus Puts the Heat in Chili Peppers, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 11, 2008   View Article

There’s a fungus among us chili fans—and some of the spicy peppers evolve their kick to repel it, a new study says.

Chili peppers develop piquant chemicals to thwart the harmful microbes long enough to give birds and other animals a chance to disperse the pepper seeds, helping the chilies to procreate, scientists found.

Naked Mole Rats Unable to Feel Burning Pain

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 1, 2008   View Article

Naked mole rats, like most creatures, don’t like to be pinched or pricked—but just try to get one to yelp by rubbing lemon juice or red-hot chili peppers over a cut. It won’t.

That’s because the hairless, finger-size rats are numb to the burning sensation that almost every other mammal feels when exposed to acids and hot peppers.

Americans Cooked With Chili Peppers 6,000 Years Ago, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 15, 2007   View Article

Domesticated chili peppers started to spice up dishes across the Americas at least 6,000 years ago, according to new research tracing the early spread of the crop.

Peppers quickly spread around the world after Christopher Columbus brought them back to Europe at the end of the 15th century, but their ancient history had been poorly known until now.

Wasps Squirt “Pepper Spray” From Heads in Fights, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 28, 2006   View Article

When female bethylid wasps are losing a vicious fight, they squirt an insect version of pepper spray from their heads before beating a retreat, new research suggests.

The chemical release is undetectable to humans, but it could represent a crucial behavior that may help biologists use the parasitic wasps as natural pest controls.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach