Bitter gourd, Momordica charantia L., breeding lines differ in secondary metabolite content according to market type


  • Bernhard Trierweiler Max Rubner-Institut, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Matthias A. Frechen Max Rubner-Institut, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Sebastian T. Soukup Max Rubner-Institut, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Björn Egert Max Rubner-Institut, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Susanne Baldermann Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Großbeeren/Erfurt, Germany
  • Supannika Sanguansil World Vegetable Center, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen, Thailand
  • James D. McCreight U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agricultural Research Station, Salinas, USA
  • Sabine E. Kulling Max Rubner-Institut, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Narinder P.S. Dhillon World Vegetable Center, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen, Thailand



Bitter gourd, Momordica charantia L., is an important commercial cucurbitaceous vegetable of enormous medicinal value in Asia because of its secondary metabolite content. We report here the characterization and evaluation of open-pollinated (OP) edible South Asian and Southeast Asian types of bitter gourd breeding lines, developed at the World Vegetable Center, for horticultural traits (11 OP) and secondary metabolites (10 OP) and their comparisons with commercial OP and F1 hybrid cultivars. Marketable yields of South Asian and Southeast Asian type breeding lines were comparable to the OP ‘BARI Karella 1’ and the hybrid ‘Benteng’, respectively.
The bitter gourd cultivars and breeding lines included in this study exhibited specific patterns for five secondary metabolites (saponins, carotenoids, chlorophyll a and b, and vitamin C): in general the two cultivars and South Asian type breeding lines contained higher levels of secondary metabolites, e.g. carotenoids, than the Southeast Asian bitter gourd breeding lines.
Some of these bitter gourd lines will be released to Asian home and school gardeners after conducting multi-location trials across Asia to improve vegetable consumption as a main task of bitter gourd breeding.