Chili peppers (Capsicums) are different in taste, appearance, aroma, pungency, color, origin, growing process, DNA structure and toxicity levels. Capsicum consists of 38% pericarp, 2% inner sheath, 56% seeds, and 4% stalks. The property that separates the Capsicum family from other plant groups and the quintessence of the chili pepper is an alkaloid called Capsaicin (kap-sa-I-sin), an unusually powerful and pungent crystalline substance found in no other plant. Capsaicin is the source of pungency and heat in Capsicums.
Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) is the extract of the dried ripe fruits of Capsicums (Chili pepper) and contains a complex mixture of essential oils, waxes, colored materials, and several Capsaicinoids. It also contains resin acids and their esters, terpenes, and oxidation or polymerization products of these terpenes. One kilogram of Oleoresin Terpenes Capsicum is equivalent to approximately 18 to 20 kilograms of good grade well-ground capsicum. This ratio may vary depending on the type of capsicum being processed.
The industrial spice Oleoresin extraction industry came into being with the development of Oleoresin process during the 1930s. The process essentially involves concentration of the oleoresin from capsicum plant by evaporation of solvent and, finally desolventisation to achieve the limits of residual solvent. Oleoresin, being a natural product, is thermally sensitive and the processing must be designed to minimize thermal degradation and preserve the full pungency. Conventional concentration and desolventisation techniques employ batch evaporation. In this process the oleoresin gets cooked over an extended length of time, which directly diminishes the Oleoresin quality.
There are several other ingredients in Capsicum that directly regulate the color of Oleoresin. One such ingredient is the pigment or the Carotinoid also called Capsanthin with a molecular formula of C40H56O3, and systematic name of (3R,3 S,5 R)-3,3′-Dihydroxy-á, k-caroten-6′-one. Capsanthin has a molecular weight of 584.85.
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