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Capsaicin molecule

Capsaicin molecule

A602/0058

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47.2 MB (47.0 MB compressed)

4591 x 3591 pixels

38.9 x 30.5 cm ⏐ 15.3 x 12.0 in (300dpi)

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Credit

DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Capsaicin, computer model. Atoms are represented as spheres and are colour-coded: carbon (red), hydrogen (white), oxygen (purple) and nitrogen (green). This chemical gives chilies their heat and 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.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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