Assessing the potential for a Cochinchin gourd industry in Australia


This proposal was submitted in 2009 predominantly as an experimental research project. The RIRDC advisory committee recommended that this project be resubmitted in 2010 with costs reduced and the project scaled back to a desktop feasibility study. Our proposal for a one year project has been modified accordingly. Cochinchin gourd (Momordica chochinensis Spreng) fruits have a high concentration of vitamin E, and of lycopene and beta carotene which are natural antioxidants with the potential to treat and prevent cancer and vitamin A deficiency. Australian research has shown that this fruit can be processed into a powder that retains its colour and quality characteristics for up to four months, highlighting the great potential for its use in the food industry as a natural food colour and for nutrition supplementation. There is growing consumer demand for the consumption of natural products with demonstrated health benefits. Australia is well positioned to exploit this demand for production of such products with advanced technology in a clean environment. Using a desktop approach, this project aims to identify the potential of cochinchin gourd as a valuable crop grown for refined nutritious products. A cost benefit analysis of producing and processing fruits will be conducted. Additionally, since there is little knowledge of this plant in cultivation, the project will allow for a student greenhouse experiment to identify the potential limiting factors to cochinchin crop production.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

The Crown in right of the State of NSW acting through the Department of Primary Industries

Objective Summary

As a result of this work the Australian Horticultural industry will be informed about the viability of this potential industry and areas of need for its research and development. The primary objective of this project is to identify the potential for a cochinchin gourd industry in Australia based on the cost benefit analysis of the production of this crop and the processing of fruits into refined products. A secondary objective is to understand the basic responses of cochinchin gourd in cultivation. Small scale experimental work, in the form of a greenhouse trial, will permit a fundamental understanding of the crop responses in cultivation which have yet to be documented. Greenhouse production offers the advantage of being able to manipulate growing conditions to maximise fruit yield and quality and is highly efficient in fertiliser and water use. This information will be essential to understanding the immediate limitations of the crop in cultivation and thus the development of this potential industry.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Monday, May 30, 2011

Project Completion Date

Friday, March 29, 2013

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Promoting and maintaining good health

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

NEPI-Feasibility studies and industry literature reviews


Related publications


Assessing the Potential for a Gac (Cochinchin gourd) Industry in Australia