Issue Date: December 5, 2016
Bitterness in wild cucumber, melon, and watermelon
When cucumbers, muskmelons, and watermelons grow in the wild, their fruit contains bitter cucurbitacin molecules, a family of highly oxygenated tetracyclic triterpenes that deter pests from foraging. Although these defense compounds evolved in the plants millions of years ago, humans have bred them out of the fruits to make them more appealing to our palate. A team of researchers led by Yi Shang and Sanwen Huang of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural . . .
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