An introduction to the “Li Spicy Unit” for the pungency degree of spicy foods

De Jian Li, Yan Fei Li, Hong Jun Li, De Cai Zhou, Chong Xia Hu, Ren You Gan, Harold Corke, Hua Bin Li, Li Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Spicy foods are very popular in many countries of the world, but there is still a lack of a simple and intuitive unit to characterize the pungency degree of spicy foods. In this study, the pungency degrees of Spicy Hotpot were evaluated by a large-scale consumer testing, and six levels of pungency degree were graded and connected with contents of main capsaicinoids (CMC) in Spicy Hotpot, from which a new unit of pungency degree was established, the “Li Spicy Unit” (LSU), with the equation: LSU = 10.369 ln (CMC) + 65.264. In addition, it was found that LSU was also suitable for evaluating the pungency degree of several other spicy foods. Therefore, LSU can be a good indicator of the pungency degree of diverse spicy foods. The new LSU can provide an easy tool for public education to help consumers pick spicy foods with a suitable pungency degree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Food Properties
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Hotpot
  • Li Spicy Unit
  • capsaicinoids
  • pungency degree
  • sensory evaluation
  • spicy foods


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