Capsaicin molecule

Capsaicin molecule

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Credit: DR MARK J. WINTER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Capsaicin. Computer model of a molecule of capsaicin, the chemical that gives chilies their heat. Atoms are represented as spheres and are colour-coded: carbon (silver), hydrogen (light blue), oxygen (red) and nitrogen (dark blue). This chemical causes a burning sensation when ingested. It is a secondary metabolite of the chili plant (Capsicum sp.) and probably evolved to deter herbivores. As of 2006, capsaicin is being investigated as a potential treatment for prostate cancer, as it has been shown to promote prostate tumour cell death in culture. The increased consumption of chilies is not recommended as a preventative measure against prostate cancer because capsaicin has been linked with stomach cancer.

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Keywords: artwork, ball and stick, biochemistry, capsaicin, chemical, chemistry, chili pepper, chilies, compound, compounds, computer artwork, computer model, heat, hot, illustration, molecular, molecular model, molecule, molecules, one, single, sphere, spheres, spice, spicy, structure

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