Move over, Carolina Reaper.The record for the world’s hottest pepper has a new name, and it simply goes by the handle ‘Pepper X’.The Guinness World Book of Records on Monday made it official, clocking in the hearty habanero at 2.6 million Scoville heat units (SHU), compared to just 1.64 million for the lowly Reaper.By comparison, a typical jalapeño is about 3,000 SHU.Both were bred by the aptly-named Ed Currie, founder of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company and reportedly took 10 years of cross breeding to perfect. Currie unveiled Pepper X on an episode of the hit YouTube series Hot Ones earlier this summer..According to Fortune Magazine the hot sauce market is expected to almost double from about USD$2.9 billion in 2022 to more than $5.1 billion by 2030.It can take several years for desired traits to emerge through selective breeding and it takes around 10 generations for hybrids to stabilize with predictable traits and consistent fruit. Currie does more than 100 crosses every year, hoping just one or two will make it through the 10-year development cycle.“When we started the cross, there were two peppers that I really loved the flavour of, but neither of them were gonna be hot enough for my tastes,” Currie said during the reveal.“If we get desirable traits, like high indices of capsaicinoids we’re looking for, then we’ll keep on going on the cross. If it doesn’t work, then we gotta start all over again, and it’s a very time-consuming, very long process,” he told Wired magazine.Currie is reportedly already working on a successor.Pepper X’s sizzling Scoville score was calculated by Winthrop University in South Carolina, which conducted tests using specimens from the past four years. The Scoville scale, used to measure the spiciness of chili peppers, is based on the concentration of capsaicin — the active component of chili peppers that causes a burning sensation when it makes contact with human tissue.While most people mistakenly think a pepper’s heat is generated from the seeds, Guinness notes it’s actually in the fibrous placenta. Pepper X’s exterior has many curves and ridges, meaning there’s more area inside its cavity to harbour the capsaicin coated strands.And make no mistake, this one will burn the skin from a baby’s bottom. And its eyes, lips, intestines and even lungs, if too much is ingested all at once.Capsaicin, which is a member of the vanilla family, was first isolated in 1816 by Christian Bucholz who found it to have analgesic properties — although its chemical composition was first determined in 1919. Since then it’s been a popular homeopathic folk medicine for all manner of ailments including overactive bladder, a weight loss supplement and even rheumatoid arthritis.But it’s also a potent irritant and is the primary component of bear spray and mace. If exposed to the mucous membranes, it can cause severe irritation, pain and burning. When it gets in the eye, capsaicin can cause prolonged burning pain with tearing, photophobia and blurry vision. When inhaled, it can cause dry coughing spells, wheezing and dyspnea.It’s not known how many people a year actually show up in hospital but it was blamed for the sudden death of a Boston teenager in September of this year.If acute exposure occurs, health agencies recommend slathering affected areas with oils such as petroleum jelly or vegetable oil. To relieve the abdominal symptoms, polyethylene glycol or cold milk has also been recommended. Skin exposure can be limited by washing the area with detergent followed by a thorough rinse with water.“Just plain water alone is not effective at removing capsaicin from the skin,” says the US National Institute of Health.