ISSN 2285-1364, ISSN CD-ROM 2285-5521, ISSN ONLINE 2285-1372, ISSN-L 2285-1364


Published in Scientific Bulletin. Series F. Biotechnologies, Vol. XXI
Written by Sevil SAGLAM

Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.) belongs to the family Cucurbiteceae. It is widely consumed as a vegetable and especially as a folk medicine in Asia. This review outlines the work done on the tissue culture of Momordica charantia L.. Commonly known as karela or bitter melon and contains bright red seeds due to high lycopene, a pigment that can be used as an artificial food colorant. Bitter gourd protein has been reported to have HIV inhibitor properties. The fruits of bitter gourd contain nutritionally useful essential minerals and amino acids. It has hypoglycemic activity which reduces the blood glucose, antitumor activity and antispermatogenic and androgenic activities. It is a common food item of the tropics and is used for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, AIDS and many ailments. It has also include alkaloids, insulin like peptides, and a mixture of steroidal sapogenins known as charantin. Bitter gourd is tolerant to a range of limiting factors of the environments and can be grown in tropical and subtropical climates. Improvement of this crop and development of new varieties are obviously necessary which could be done through the applications of modern techniques of biotechnology. Plant tissue culture is one of the biotechnological technique to culture plant cells or tissues under controlled aseptic conditions on artificial medium and is used to some degree in the improvement of almost every major agronomic, vegetable and fibre crop species. It has value in basic research like cell biology, genetic transformation studies and biochemistry for the production of medicinally valuable secondary metabolites. Some limited efforts have been made for the improvement of this crop using biotechnological techniques like: type of explants (auxin, cytokinin), media composition, growth conditions, genotypes.

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