Cultivation and Bioprospecting of Perennial Cucurbits

Authored by: Shrawan Singh , L.K. Bharati

Handbook of Cucurbits

Print publication date:  February  2016
Online publication date:  February  2016

Print ISBN: 9781482234589
eBook ISBN: 9781482234596
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b19233-8

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Abstract

Nowadays, perennial cucurbits are gaining importance because of their ecological consideration and nutritional composition. The important perennial cucurbits are gac (Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng), spine gourd (Momordica dioica Roxb.), teasel gourd (Momordica subangulata ssp. renigera [G. Don] de Wilde), pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.), ivy gourd (Coccinia cordifolia [Voigt] L.), and chow-chow (Sechium edule [Jack] Sw). The fruits of these cucurbits are consumed either raw or cooked and in pickled form and are cultivated in small scale and, to some extent, in commercial scale in tropical regions; however, they are still considered cucurbits of secondary status. M. cochinchinensis and C. cordifolia are still collected from wild habitats in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and northeast India for their value in local culinary preparations. They are commonly used at the green stage only for dietary preparations, while in some places, the use of ripe fruits for the extraction of natural color used in food preparation, particularly in rice, is also reported. These crops have regenerating capacity and hardiness to overcome different biotic stresses, particularly damage by cyclones and heavy rains. Besides, these are important source of functional constituents such as lycopene and carotenoids and suitable for processing and value-added products. Lycopene has strong free radical quenching capacity, and aril fraction of ripe fruits of M. cochinchinensis has been reported as the richest source of (70 times higher than tomato) lycopene. This chapter highlights the significance of perennial vegetables in the food industry and their potential in tropical regions with special reference to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India.

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