Vegetable Research Division, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science, Rural Development Administration1
Urban Agriculture Research Team, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science, Rural Development Administration2
Luffa cylindrica Roem (sponge gourd) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and has been cultivated as an ornamental plant in Korea. Recently, its cultivation area has been increased with an increase in demand for it as an ingredient in cosmetics, herbal medicines, and health supplements. We analyzed inorganic components of sap collected from land race sponge gourds. We also measured antioxidant enzyme activities and antimicrobial activities of the plant, seed, and sap to examine functional properties of sponge gourd. The sap of the sponge gourd contained high levels of K, Ca, P, and Mg, with the most abundant mineral in the sap being K (470 mg･L-1). The amounts of Ca and Mg were 2 and 1.7 times more than those found in cucumber (Cucumis sativus), respectively. Ascorbate peroxidase was more active than catalase and superoxide dismutase in various plant parts of sponge gourd. Antioxidant activities were much lower in stems than in other plant parts such as leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds, and sap. In addition, sap showed a very low level of antimicrobial activity against two food-borne pathogens, Vibrio parahaemdyticus and Propionibacterium acne, and none against the other eight tested food-borne pathogens. Antimicrobial activities against Candida albicans and Malassezia furfur, which causes dermatitis, appeared to be higher in sap than in other parts of sponge gourd plants. Overall, the antimicrobial activity against Malassezia furfur appeared to be higher than against Candida albicans.
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