Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 12, 2003
Publication Date: December 30, 2003
Citation: Ishida, B.K., Turner, C., Chapman, M.H., McKeon, T.A. 2004. Fatty acids and carotenoid composition in gac (momordica cochinchinensis spreng) fruit. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Vol 52, p. 274-279. Interpretive Summary: Fruit of Momordica cochinchinensis, Spreng, known as gac in Vietnam, is used for food and medicine in Southeast Asia. Aril, the red, oily pulp surrounding the seeds, is cooked along with seeds to flavor and give its red color to a rice dish, xoi gac, which is served at festive occasions such as weddings in Vietnam. Seeds are used in Chinese traditional medicine. In this study, we analyzed fatty acids and carotenoids in gac fruit and seed. Total lycopene concentration in gac aril in the ripest of the three fruit sampled shows that gac aril can produce more than 76 times the amount of lycopene found in commercial tomato. The total B-carotene in this fruit is also very high. No lycopene was found in the flesh of the fruit. Gac aril contained 22% fatty acids by weight, consisting of high concentrations of unsaturated [oleic (33.7%) and linoleic acids (28.7)] and lower concentrations of saturated [palmitic acid (32%)] fatty acids. Seeds contained mostly stearic acid (60.5%).
Technical Abstract: Fruit of Momordica cochinchinensis, Spreng, known as gac in Vietnam, is used as food and for medicinal purposes in Southeast Asia. Aril, the red, fleshy pulp surrounding the seeds, is cooked along with seeds to impart its red color and flavor to a rice dish, xoi gac, served at festive occasions, e.g., weddings, in Vietnam. Seeds are used in Chinese traditional medicine. In this study, we analyzed fatty acid and carotenoid composition of gac fruit tissues, including seed. Mean values were 2226.7 mg total lycopene (trans- + cis-isomers) and 718.3 mg total B-carotene/g fresh weight aril and lower amounts of a-carotene. No lycopene was detected in mesocarp. Gac aril contained 22% fatty acids by weight, comprised of high concentrations of oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. Seed contained primarily stearic acid (60.5%), smaller amounts of linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acids, and trace amounts of arachidic, cis-vaccenic, linolenic, and palmitoleic, and eicosa-11-enoic acids.