Bitter Food But Good Medicine From Cucumbers

Did you know that wild cucumber, pumpkin, watermelon, and squash are extremely bitter? The compounds responsible, called cucurbitacins, have been tamed before they reach your grocery store. However, recent studies have shown that cucurbitacins can kill or suppress the growth of cancer cells. Chinese researchers and UC-Davis professors have come together to test these compounds with the goal of understanding exactly how the process of domesticating cucumber genetics works. Not only will this open up approaches to developing other food crops, but it could also make it much easier to produce large enough quantities of cucurbitacins to use in clinical trials and potentially in medicine.

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