Experts from the University of California and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, have observed that there is a certain kind of compound known as cucurbitacins in cucumber which has medicinal properties to cure diabetes and cancer.
This compound gives a sour taste to the wild cucumbers. Wild cucumbers are popular for their medicinal properties in China as well as India and are used to cure liver ailments. It is said that the compound has the ability to restrain augmentation of cancer cells.
It was seen that sourness of the vegetable is actually controlled by two genetic factors Bi & Bt. Bi is responsible for sourness f the whole plant whereas Bt leads to sourness of the fruit. Thus, 9 genes were studied which finally lead to the formation of the compound cucurbitacin.
This process is being further developed so that other fruits and vegetables that are not so rich in nutrition can be made edible and in future the compound may be used in various medicines.
This study was published in the journal Science.