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Wild bitter melon varieties Hualien No. 1~ Hualien No. 7

Diverse and economically valuable products

Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, COA, Executive Yuan R.O.C.
Jong-Ho Chyuan (Associate Researcher)
Tel:886- 3-852-1108 ext. 3400
Email:jonghoc@hdares.gov.tw

April 6, 2022


Wild Bitter melons are common foods for Taiwanese aborigines in the early years. Presently, the Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, after more than 30 years of research, successfully bred new varieties of wild bitter melon Hualien No. 1 to No. 7 with cross-breeding technology. Twenty farms and biotechnology companies have shown interests in the new varieties, and acquired the right of this variety. Using modern extraction and purification technologies, biotechnology companies and organic farms have transformed bitter melons into a variety of functional health foods, such as bitter melon powder, bitter melon seed oil, bitter melon tea, bitter melon capsules, and even beauty products.

Jong-Ho Chyuan, an associate research fellow at the Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, is one of the key members on breeding bitter melon, and exploring its various economic values. He commented, "my goal is to develop bitter melon into a health product for lowering blood sugar.”

Hualien No. 1: The variety is a green-skinned and early maturing F1 hybrid. The plant has many branches and strong fruit-bearing capacity. The pistillate flower blooms from the 11th node of the main vine, and the flowering period lasts for about 49 days after sowing. The fruit is of an oblong shape, with pearl and strip-like protrusions and slightly deep grooves on the fruit surface. The bitterness level is medium. The average fruit length is 14 cm, the average fruit diameter is 6.5 cm, and the average fruit weight is177 g. The fruit is rich in vitamin C (108.8 mg/100 g) and folic acid (200.2 μg/100 g).

Hualien No. 2: The variety is a F1 hybrid. It has many branches and strong fruit-bearing capacity. Its flowering node of the first pistillate flower is low, and the rate of pistillate flower is high. The pistillate flower blooms from the 25th node of the main vine and the flowering period lasts for about 38 days after sowing. The harvest period is about 20 days after flowering. The fruit is of an oblong shape, with strip-like protrusions and slightly deep grooves on the fruit surface. Its bitterness level is medium. The average fruit length is 15.6 cm, the average fruit diameter is 6.0 cm, and the average fruit weight is 160 g. The color is white and greenish. The fruit is rich in vitamin C (107.9 mg/100 g) and folic acid (208.4 μg/100 g).

Hualien No. 3: The variety is a F1 hybrid with oval and yellowish-brown seeds. It has many branches and strong fruit-bearing capacity. The rate of pistillate flower is high. The pistillate flower blooms from the 14th node of the main vine. The flowering period lasts for about 49 days after sowing. The harvested period is about 20 days after flowering. The fruit is green, oblong, with pearly protrusions and slightly deep grooves on the fruit surface. The bitterness level is medium. The average fruit length is 14.8 cm, the average fruit diameter is 6.1 cm, and the average fruit weight is 165 g. The fruit is rich in vitamin C (171.2 mg/100 g) and folic acid (167.2 μg/100 g).

Hualien No. 4: The variety is a F1 hybrid. Seeds are oval and yellowish-brown. It has many branches and strong fruit-bearing capacity. The rate of pistillate flower is high. The pistillate flower blooms from the 33th node of the main vine, and the flowering period lasts for about 55 days after sowing. The harvested period is about 15 days after flowering. The fruit is green and oval, with sharp and strip-like protrusions and slightly deep grooves on the fruit surface. Its bitterness level is medium. The average fruit length is 8.0 cm, the average fruit diameter is 3.2 cm, and the average fruit weight is 21.4 g. The fruit is rich in vitamin C (99.86 mg/100 g) and folic acid (200.4 μg/100 g).

Hualien No. 5: The variety is a F1 hybrid. It has many branches and strong fruit-bearing capacity. The rate of pistillate flower is high. The pistillate flower blooms from the 28th node of the main vine and the flowering period lasts for about 45 days after sowing. The harvest period is about 15 days after flowering. The fruit is green and short oval, with a slightly pointed and striped fruit surface. Its bitterness level is medium. The average fruit length is 9.9 cm, the average fruit diameter is 4.6 cm, and the average fruit weight is 47.2 g. Although it is a small fruit, it is rich in vitamin C (126.5 mg/100 g) and folic acid (69.38 μg/100 g).

Hualien No. 6: The variety is a F1 hybrid. It has strong fruit-bearing capacity. The pistillate flower blooms from the 16th node of the main vine and the flowering period lasts for about 45 days after sowing. The harvest period is about 15 days after flowering. The fruit is green and long oblong, with slightly pointed protrusions and strip-like protrusions on the fruit surface. Its bitterness level is medium. The average fruit length is 21.9 cm, the average fruit diameter is5.4 cm, and the average fruit weight is 202 g. It is a small and medium-sized fruit, and is rich in folic acid (104.3 μg/100 g), alpha-linolenic acid (19.54 g/100 g) and palmitic acid (53.03 g/100 g).

Hualien No. 7: The variety is a F1 hybrid. It has strong fruit-bearing capacity. The pistillate flower blooms from the 30th node of the main vine, and the flowering period lasts for about 45 days after sowing. The harvest period is about 15 days after flowering. The fruit is green and long oblong, with slightly pointed protrusions and strip-like protrusions on the fruit surface and the taste of medium bitterness. The average fruit length is 19.2 cm, the average fruit diameter is 6.4 cm, and the average fruit weight is 237 g. It is rich in folic acid (129.9 μg/100 g) and stearic acid (48.68 g/100 g).

       The bitter melon fruits are green, except for Hualien No. 2 and No. 7, which are whitish. The fruits of Hualien Nos. 1-3 and No. 6 are about 150-220 g, which are 1/3 of the weight of large bitter melon, making them very suitable for small families. Hualien Nos. 4and No. 5 are dark green. The fruit size (about 20-50 g) and the pointed protrusion of the fruit surface are very close to the wild bitter melon. Both are suitable for making special dishes or processed products. Hualien No.7 has a whiter appearance and the taste is closer to the white bitter melon cultivar. The variety is easy to cultivate, with high nutritional values and good taste. This high-quality variety is very suitable as fresh food or for health care. The seven new varieties of bitter melon all have high fruit-bearing capacity and high yield; their fruits are rich in vitamin C, folic acid, and with high antioxidant capacity. These varieties were provided by the Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station to the bitter melon research team of the national biotechnology project of National Science Council as materials for research in their multi-health functions, including anti-metabolic syndrome, blood sugar regulation in pre-diabetes, anti-inflammatory substance, and immune regulation. The test results showed that the new varieties of bitter melon not only can be used as general vegetables but also as nutritional and health care ingredients. They are also very suitable for home cooking.

   Finally, Hualien No. 4 is rich in functional components such as triterpenes, wild bitter melon saponins, and bitter melon proteins. The fruit can be used in distinctive wild vegetable restaurants, and made into health drinks after pressing. It can also be processed into capsules, caplets, and other forms of health supplements after slicing, drying, and grinding. These bitter melon varieties are very promising ingredients in the field of health products.


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