The Yucatan Scientific Research Center (CICY) is working on the development of habanero pepper varieties with a very high level of capsaicin, the molecule that produces the spicy sensation and that is used as an active ingredient in the preparation of medicines. One of the leaders of this project, Teresa Hernandez Sotomayor, said the capsaicin compound is used to help decrease the pain in patients.
This chemical compound is also used in the preparation of paints for boats and tear gas, among other products.
“Many researchers are working on this project to obtain more and new varieties that have a higher content of that compound. We know that this can be a factor that generates added value to the Habanero pepper and lead to an increase in production,” she stressed.
The Center for Scientific Research in Yucatan is also developing habanero peppers that are more resistant to parasites, such as oomycetes, which tend to devastate large areas of plants and that particularly affect the production of these vegetables.