Megan McEnany visited Kevin Cooper’s horticulture and plant science class on Tuesday, Nov. 26. McEnany spent 10 weeks in Thailand researching "bitter gourds," Momordica charantia. This vegetable, also known as bitter melon, notably contains phyto-nutrient, p-polypeptide, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it synthsizes a hypoglycemic agent called charantin. Charantin increases glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in the cells of liver, muscle and adipose tissue. Together, these compounds are thought to be responsible for reduction of blood sugar levels in the treatment of type-2 diabetes.
McEnany, a freshman majoring in agronomy at ISU, encouraged the students to participate in the annual World Food Prize Youth Institute. The institute is held annually on the ISU campus in April. Participants must submit a research paper to be accepted into the institute. Cooper, Nevada High School ag education instructor and FFA advisor, has also promoted the program.