Bitter gourds galore! Issue No. 8 July 2012

Issue No. 14
July 2012
Bitter gourds galore!
As the growing season
continues, while fresh bitter
gourds are being harvested
in one field, new seedling
are sprouting in another.
The old has gone and the
new is coming, the cycle of
life keeps turning. Everyone
is busy at work!
OUTPUT 1 – Baseline Surveys
Medical Experts and Diabetes Patients Survey: Good news
can be shared for the survey conducted last year at the Kilimanjaro
Christian Medical Center (KCMC) in Moshi, Tanzania among diabetic
patients in regard to their knowledge on bitter gourd and diabetes.
Christine Ludwig of Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), Germany
and her colleagues submitted an abstract “Knowledge and usage of
bitter gourd as an anti-diabetic plant in Tanzania” to the Tropentag
2012 in Goettingen, Germany as well as to the Nutrition Congress
Africa 2012 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Both abstracts were
accepted as poster presentation and Christine is happy to present
results of the Bitter Gourd Project in Goettingen and Bloemfontein in
September and October, respectively.
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Newsletter Contact: [email protected]
Tropentag 2012
© 2012 Bitter Gourd Project.
Issue No. 14
Bitter Gourd Project NEWS
July 2012
OUTPUT 2 and 3 – Germplasm Evaluation and Factorial Studies
Bitter Gourd Trials: The second season bitter gourd trial conducted at AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center
in Taiwan has finished collecting samples for both the horticultural evaluations and nutritional analyses.
Congratulations to AVRDC Cucurbit and Nutrition groups!
OUTPUT 4 – Efficacy Studies
Human Trial
The data collection for the food and physical activity frequency questionnaire validation for the upcoming
human trial in the Moshi area is completed. The research team, strongly supported by Dr. Mark Swai of
KCMC, was happy to finish the data collection in time. A total of 117 participants were included. Complete
data sets are available from approximately 100 participants. Data were collected in regard to dietary intake,
physical activity, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, and anthropometrics.
All participants were provided with snacks and information factsheets on bitter gourd and healthy lifestyle
after assessment days. They furthermore received a chart with their assessed values. Now, two master
students from JLU are working on data entry and analysis. Ms. Andrea Fongar will validate the dietary intake
and physical activity assessment tools. Ms. Kathrin Demmler will analyze the situation in regard to nutrition
transition and risk of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in the study area. Preliminary results
show that the mean fasting plasma glucose (FPG) level and Body Mass Index (BMI) are higher in the urban
area than in the village where it is still in the normal range. Mean BMI and FPG in the urban area are in the
pre-diabetic range. Detailed results will follow and communicated in the BiG project news.
In Pictures:
1. Research team for validation study
(left to right): Ms. Aneth Kiliyanga
(Nutritionist, KCMC), Ms. Molllel and
Ms. Sijan Mallya (Nurses, KCMC), and
Ms. Kathrin Demmler and Andrea
Fongar (M.Sc. students, JLU)
2. Snacks for participants after
assessment procedure and
information factsheets on bitter
gourd and healthy lifestyle
3. Measurement tools used to
estimate the amount of food intake
4. Staff and participants during
assessment day
During this month, the staff of KCMC had a juice tasting in preparations for the human trial. Two juices will be
used for the study, one containing bitter gourd while the other contained cucumber. The bitter taste of the
Newsletter Contact: [email protected]
© 2012 Bitter Gourd Project.
Issue No. 14
Bitter Gourd Project NEWS
July 2012
juice powders were masked for the blinded study. After receiving the sample juice powders, the staffs were
eager to try the taste. The tasting team found the contents of Juice A and Juice B having a pleasant natural
taste, which could be compared with avocado juice and will be acceptable to the participants. Here are some
pictures to show!
In Pictures:
1-2. Bitter gourd juice preparations can
be fun! See Dr. Nyasutu (top) and Ms.
Gloria Salla Damian (bottom)’s bright
smiles as they mix the powders with
3. Once the juices are prepared and
labelled, the green color sure pops out of
the glass
4. Trying the juices (from left to right):
Dr. Mark Swai, Dr. Nyasutu, and Head of
KCMC Diabetes Clinic, Dr. Lyaruu
5. Ms. Gloria Salla Damian (right) tries
the juice with her colleagues. In August,
Ms. Damian will be participating in
developing bitter gourd recipes for
Tanzania at AVRDC in Taiwan
Shanhua, TAIWAN
AVRDC Cucurbit group has planted the bitter gourds that will be used for the upcoming human trial. The
team, led by Mr. Chung-cheng Lin is expected to harvest in August more than 500 kg of bitter gourd and
1000 kg of cucumber. Go TEAM!
In Pictures:
1. The newly planted
bitter gourd plants
2. Stakes are up as a
worker sets up the net for
the bitter gourds to climb
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3. Dr. Sandra Habicht
visiting the bitter gourd
© 2012 Bitter Gourd Project.
Issue No. 14
Bitter Gourd Project NEWS
July 2012
From July to August, Ms. Jessica Louie from Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA is interning in AVRDCNutrition. Ms. Louie’s work is supervised by Dr. Ray-yu Yang, Dr. Sandra Habicht and Ms. Hsin-I Wang. Her
research is on developing a protocol for evaluating the effect of different food preparation, and processing
methods on the anti-diabetic activity of bitter gourd. From harvesting to cooking and freezing, she has done it
all! Now she is preparing methanol extracts from the bitter gourd products that she will later test in cell
culture in regard to anti-diabetic activity.
In Pictures:
1. Ms. Jessica Louie
wearing the right gear
ready to harvest the bitter
2. The different
postharvest processing
methods used in Ms.
Louie’s research:
1) Control; 2) Drying
without oil; 3) Drying with
oil; 4) Blanching; 5) Stirfrying; 6) Simmering; 7)
OUTPUT 7 – Promotion and Communications
Yummy Bitter gourd!
In the month of July, the bitter gourd team at Avinashilingam University for Women (AUW) in Coimbatore,
India has been busing in the kitchen! They have developed many delicious bitter gourd recipes with a
Southern Indian taste! From salad to stir-fry, the team has shared with us 5 new recipes! The recipes will be
made available online at soon! So keep your eyes open!
Here is one bitter gourd salad recipe to try:
Pavarkai Salad
1 Bitter gourd
1 onion – finely chopped
1 tsp Garlic – finely chopped
1 tsp Ginger – finely chopped
1 Tomato – finely chopped
2 tbsp Lime juice
½ tbsp Chili powder
½ tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
1 cup Fresh Coriander – finely chopped
1. Wash and finely sliced the bitter gourd without removing the seeds.
2. Apply salt on both sides, keep aside for half an hour and rinse with water twice.
3. Heat oil in pan, add the bitter gourd, sauté well for 6-7 minutes until turns to
brown, drain and keep aside in separate vessel.
4. Add the onion, tomato, chili powder, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar and sauté well for
2-3 minutes until becomes soft.
5. Add the bitter gourd to the above ingredients and mix well.
6. Add the lime juice along with coriander and mix well.
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© 2012 Bitter Gourd Project.
Bitter Gourd Project NEWS
Issue No. 14
July 2012
And finally…
12 year-old Vivian Chen from Shanhua, Taiwan and daughter of AVRDC’s Maggie Chen has submitted to the
Bitter Gourd Project her version of what the project means to her.
In her drawing, the bitter gourd is wearing a bandana with the Chinese words for “Victory” and holding a
tape measure by its waist. As one of the ways bitter gourd helps manage diabetes is through weight loss,
Vivian is showing the bitter gourd actively measuring its weight on the scale. Determination is the key to
For fun, a real bitter gourd on a scale is put on the right of her drawing to show how good Vivian’s drawing
skills are.
Thank you Vivian for your creative contribution to the project!!
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© 2012 Bitter Gourd Project.