A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Monday, May 18, 2009
Posted 12:32 PM by Tevita
Bitter gourd: High value, high input
From : The World Vegetable Center Newsletter
Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) is regarded as one of the world’s major vegetable crops and has great economic importance. It also is a promising candidate as a remedy
that can help millions in the developing world who suffer from metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes. These positive features may make bitter gourd look like an
all-purpose crop; however, to be successful on a global scale, this indigenous crop requires attention from breeders as well as production system specialists.
A traditional vegetable grown throughout tropical and subtropical Asia, bitter gourd is planted on more than 60,000 ha annually—but major insecttransmitted diseases such as Cucurbit aphid-borne yellow virus (CABYC), Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV), and Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) are spreading quickly, causing significant yield
reductions. Fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, and bacterial wilt also cause considerable damage. “Breeding bitter gourd with resistance or tolerance to diseases is a promising approach,” says Dr. Zhanyong Sun, who is leading AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center’s cucurbit program. Through disease resistance breeding, private sector researchers in the Philippines were able to develop ‘Namamarako,’ a variety
resistant to CNM, a new emerging virus that is a strain of CABYV. This hybrid yields well even during times of high virus incidence. “With 302 accessions listed in its
current inventory, AVRDC’s Momordica collection is of interest for research cooperation with partners in the private sector,” says Dr. Sun. “But it’s important to carry out broader research. We simply don’t know enough about the diseases and insects that affect bitter gourd, the most successful cultural practices, and the most promising pest management strategies.” As Dr. Sun can attest, researching indigenous vegetables is an exploration of the unknown and involves a lot of pioneering work. Together with AVRDC’s Asian Regional Center in Bangkok, Dr.
Sun hopes to conduct an in-depth survey and analysis in the region to identify varieties that are disease resistant and adapted to different agroecological conditions. Researchers will not have to be concerned about one issue: climate
change. Bitter gourd performs even better under hot tropical conditions.
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