The Real Reason Peppers are Spicy

SciShow’s hot take: Peppers don’t produce that spicy goodness for the reason you think!

Hosted by: Hank Green

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Sources:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867402006372
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-006-0496-y#page-1
https://www.nature.com/articles/35086653
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9035246?dopt=Abstract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2093168?dopt=Abstract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3311884/ https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10886-005-9017-4
https://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2011/dec/22/economics-red-chili-peppers
https://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/archive/chemmatters-dec2013-pepper.pdf http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/105/33/11808.full.pdf https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/whats-so-hot-about-chili-peppers-116907465/

Images:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Habanero_peppers.svg#filehistory
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:California_Red_Chili_Peppers.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microconidia_and_Macroconidia_of_the_fungus_Fusarium_sp.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anaheim_Chili_Peppers.jpg

Why Nutrition Studies Keep Contradicting Each Other

It seems like nutrition studies contradict a lot, and it’s practically impossible to get a straight answer on whether a given food or supplement is good for you. But why?

Hosted by: Olivia Gordon

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Support SciShow by becoming a patron on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/scishow
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Dooblydoo thanks go to the following Patreon supporters: Jerry Perez, Lazarus G, Kelly Landrum Jones, Sam Lutfi, Kevin Knupp, Nicholas Smith, D.A. Noe, alexander wadsworth, سلطان الخليفي, Piya Shedden, KatieMarie Magnone, Scott Satovsky Jr, Charles Southerland, Bader AlGhamdi, James Harshaw, Patrick D. Ashmore, Candy, Tim Curwick, charles george, Saul, Mark Terrio-Cameron, Viraansh Bhanushali, Kevin Bealer, Philippe von Bergen, Chris Peters, Justin Lentz
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Sources:
https://www.vox.com/2016/1/14/10760622/nutrition-science-complicated
https://www.vox.com/2015/1/5/7482871/types-of-study-design
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/you-cant-trust-what-you-read-about-nutrition/
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/media-full-story/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921609/#R46
https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/7/2/383/4558081
https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/7/1/44/4524046
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23934737
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065151/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/drinking-red-wine-is-good-for-you–or-maybe-not/2017/12/01/49f55e7a-cbd3-11e7-aa96-54417592cf72_story.html?utm_term=.aa32598b01df
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00018-014-1808-8
https://academic.oup.com/alcalc/article/48/3/270/244770
https://content.iospress.com/articles/clinical-hemorheology-and-microcirculation/ch1424
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4346286/

Image Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resveratrol#/media/File:Resveratrol3d.png
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta-Carotene#/media/File:Beta-Carotene-3D-spacefill.png

This Giant Plant Looks Like Raw Meat and Smells Like Dead Rat | Deep Look

With rows of Dr. Seuss-like flowers hidden deep inside, the corpse flower plays dead to lure some unusual pollinators.

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For a plant that emits an overpowering stench of rotting carcass, you’d think the corpse flower would have a PR problem.

But it’s quite the opposite: Anytime a corpse flower opens up at a botanical garden somewhere in the world visitors flock to catch a whiff and get a glimpse of the giant plant, which can grow up to 10 feet tall when it blooms and generally only does so every two to 10 years.

A corpse flower’s whole survival strategy is based on deception. It’s not a flower and it’s not a rotting dead animal, but it mimics both. Pollination remains out of sight, deep within the plant. KQED’s Deep Look staff was able to film inside a corpse flower, revealing the rarely-seen moment when the plant’s male flowers release glistening strings of pollen.

It’s not that the corpse flower is the only plant to attract pollinators like flies and beetles by putting out bad smells. Nor is it the only one that produces male and female flowers at the same time.

“The fact that it does all of this at this outsized scale – all of this together – is what’s so unique about it, biologically,” said Pati Vitt, senior scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

When a titan arum is ready to flower, a stalk starts to grow out of the soil. Once it has reached four to 10 feet, a red “skirt” unfurls. Though it has the appearance of a petal, it’s really a modified leaf called a spathe that looks like a raw steak.

The yellow stalk underneath is called the spadix and it gives the plant its scientific name, Amorphophallus titanum, or roughly “giant deformed phallus.”

In its native Sumatra, the corpse flower opens for only 24 hours. In captivity, it often lasts longer. With just a day to reproduce, the stakes are high.

— How many chemicals make up the smell of the corpse flower?
More than 30 chemicals make up the scent of the corpse flower, according to the 2017 paper “Studies on the floral anatomy and scent chemistry of titan arum” by researchers at the University of Mississippi, University of Florida, Gainsville, and Anadolu University in Turkey:
http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/botany/issues/bot-17-41-1/bot-41-1-6-1604-34.pdf

Some of the chemicals have a pleasant scent. But mostly, the corpse flower at first smells like funky cheese and rotting garlic, as a result of sulphur-smelling compounds. Hours later, the stink changes to what Vanessa Handley, at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley describes as “dead rat in the walls of your house.”

—+ Read the entire article:
https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2018/01/23/this-giant-plant-looks-like-raw-meat-and-smells-like-dead-rat/

—+ For more information:
Great illustration on the lifecycle of the corpse flower by the Chicago Botanic Garden:
https://www.chicagobotanic.org/titan/faq

University of California Davis Botanical Conservatory:
http://greenhouse.ucdavis.edu/conservatory/

—+ More Great Deep Look episodes:

This Mushroom Starts Killing You Before You Even Realize It
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl9aCH2QaQY

A Real Alien Invasion Is Coming to a Palm Tree Near You
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6a3Q5DzeBM

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It’s Okay To Be Smart: How to Figure Out the Day of the Week For Any Date Ever
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=714LTMNJy5M

Above The Noise: Can Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Help Fight Disease?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB_h7aheAEM

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KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, radio and web media.

Funding for Deep Look is provided in part by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look is a project of KQED Science, which is supported by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Fuhs Family Foundation Fund and the members of KQED.