EXPLOSIVES

Chili Powder Added to Grenades

Move over pepper spray. India's security forces are planning to make hand grenades that replace explosives with powder made from one of the world's hottest chilies. The chili, bhut jolokia, is said to generate 1,000,000 heat units on the Scoville scale, which measures hotness or piquancy of a pepper as defined by the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. (A bell pepper registers as a 0 on the Scoville scale, with almost no capsaicin; Habañero chilies and Scotch Bonnet peppers registers between 100,000–350,000; pure capsaicin registers on the scale at 15,000,000.) "We are working on a project on how to use the hottest chili in different applications in defense forces," said R.B. Srivastava, a senior scientist at the state-run Defense Research and Development Organization. Another idea percolating in the DRDO: the concept of using the hot chili as a food supplement as a means of raising the body temperatures of soldiers stationed in cold locales.