Jalapeño peppers are spicy, flavorful…and increasing in popularity. The pepper is found on about 25% of restaurant menus, and demand continues to grow. University of California farm advisor Aziz Baameur is researching his way to a hotter pepper. There’s a science to it: Baameur experiments with various combinations of nutrients, including potassium, nitrogen and water, and then measures effects on flavor and overall crop yield.

Brian Sodoma reports for Forbes:


“…in Baameur’s studies, a 50 percent increase in potassium didn’t increase heat and even reduced crop yield by 15 percent.

Baameur saw the greatest success with a 50 percent nitrogen boost, which caused a 20 percent increase in pungency and a 10 percent increase in overall crop production.”


Baameur works for the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Santa Clara and San Benito counties. His work is part of the University of California’s Global Food Initiative, which seeks to harness the institution’s resources to help the effort to sustainably and nutritiously feed a growing world population. Learn more about the initiative here.


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