capsaicin Capsaicin vs vinegar

This may be more of a sauce question, but it is also a chemistry question. Capsaicin is an alkaline substance and lots of possible put vinegar in their sauces they make. I don't know anything about making sauces, and probably never will formally make a sauce. I would think that mixing these two things together, wouldn't the vinegar start to neutralize the capsaicin? If it does, would the longer the sauce sits around, the less hot the sauce would get? I asked a sauce guy this question today at the pepper festival in Largo, and he said keeping the sauce in the refrigerator, regardless if it needs to be or not, stops the neutralizing process. For you guys who study the science of all this, or maybe Nigel in particular, what do you know about all this? Thanks, Tom
 
No it does not neutralize it. If it did that would be a big problem, and you'd have lots of ketchup or bell pepper-like sauces, lol.
 
Calsacien is an Alkaloid, a chemical compound. Not to be confused with an alkali, which is a solution which has a ph level of 7 or above.
An alkaloid may or may not be alkaline in nature.
 
     Capsaisin's ability to inflict pain does not necessarily lie in it's alkalinity. Just because its amine group is acted upon by the protons in solution from the vinegar, it doesn't mean that it's "heat" will be neutralized.
 
Dynebag said:
Calsacien is an Alkaloid, a chemical compound. Not to be confused with an alkali, which is a solution which has a ph level of 7 or above.
An alkaloid may or may not be alkaline in nature.
 
 
What he said....
 
Acids and Bases are very general terms describing the chemical`s ability to release or pick up protons (H+ ions - really hydronium ions, but let`s keep it simple) in an aqueous solution. HCl will dissociate into H+ and Cl- ions in water very efficiently, so is a strong acid. Acetic acid releases acetate ions and H+, but not all that efficiently by comparison, so is a much weaker acid. Bases are the same - strong, medium, weak, etc. 
 
Just because a chemical is described as acidic or basic (alkaline) down`t necessarily mean it will either give up or pick up H+ ions in aqueous solution. Capsaicin does`t act as a base or an acid, in these simple terms, in aqueous solution below pH 9. 
 
That means the acetic acid concentration won`t affect it`s ability to behave as it does on the nerves that have capsaicin receptors. Capsaicin acts on those receptors to produce it`s characteristic heat all the way from pH 9 down to pH 2. In fact, it binds to it`s receptor far more tightly at low pH. Capsaicin is also barely soluble in aqueous solution, as it is a fat-loving molecule, so that alters the way capsaicin can be thought of in terms of the pH. pH only applies to water-based solutions. For example, if you used heavy water made from deuterium instead of hydrogen, you will not measure the pH of the solutions, you will measure the pD of solutions. Similarly, pH does not exist as a concept in organic solvents. 
 
So, in answer to your question, the vinegar will not elicit any change in capsaicin function at all. Neither will temperature. 
 
Thank you everyone, and especially thank you Nigel. You know of me to know that I would understand your answer, so thank you especially for the detailed answer. Most of the people I am coming in contact with think I'm the expert on peppers and in reality, I'm just scratching the surface of pepper knowledge. Now, ask me about cycad cultivation, that is another thing, but even there, I never deal with this kind of chemistry. I can tiurn males to females and females to males, but ask me the chemical breakdown on how I accomplish this, I have to refer them to someone like Roy Osbourne in Australia.
 
I have a collector friend that lives in LA that bought a few from Loran before he died that has told me he will allow me to do my procedure on his plants once they become mature size. That might be another 10 years from now. The key thing for this change is that it takes more starch mass in the stem to produce a female cone than it takes the same species to produce a male cone. That means that I will have to wait longer than it takes for the woodiis to cone for the first time, but he has to get the stems large enough so that they could produce female cones and then make viable seeds. I'm thinking the third time it cones would be about right, but I have to do the procedure 3 or 4 months before the expected emergence of cones.With those seedlings, they would then be males and females. If we all live long enough to see this happen, I'd be very happy to share some seeds or seedlings. I would bet people would offer me $30000 each for the first batch of seedlings. A regular woodii in SA that had 5 foot of stem went for $675,000 at an auction two years ago. Who knows what people would offer for the first proven mature female? Tom
 
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