23 May 2023

RDP Caigua project: the preparation of the experimental fields is underway

The caigua (Cyclanthera pedata) is considered a medicinal plant whose active ingredients (many of which have not yet been investigated and characterized), have various beneficial effects for human health. The RDP Caiuga project – Characterization of caigua cultivars from Lombardy for the conservation and enhancement of innovative agro-food and medicinal resources, led by the UNIMONT Centre of the University of Milan, aims to analyze the agronomic, phytochemical-nutritional and medicinal properties of the Lombardy caigua populations compared to those of Mesoamerica.

After a search for traditional local varieties of caigua grown in the Lombardy mountain area for at least 50 years, a cultivar (the “Ciuenlai”) traditionally grown in Val Camonica, was identified and will be compared with other commercial varieties.

During the month of May 2023, in Pian Camuno (BS) at “Il Castagneto” farm, project partner, the seeds of the various types of caigua were sown and are now in the germination phase.

In the coming weeks, the young caigua seedlings will be transplanted into the experimental fields of “Il Castagneto” farm where they will undergo agronomic and morphological analyses. The project also foresees the genetic and phytochemical characterization of the various caigua cultivars studied and the analysis of the bioactivity of their extracts. The latter will be carried out at the Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy of the University of Siena, project partner.

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