Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Hettiarachchy, Navam S

Committee Member/Reader

Carrier, Julie

Committee Member/Second Reader

Clausen, Edgar C.


Bitter melon aril is the mucilage covering the fruit's seeds which could contain beneficial dietary ingredients. The bright red color of bitter melon aril suggests that it could contain lycopene. The purpose of this study was to determine the proximate composition of bitter melon aril and to explore this material as a potential rich source of lycopene that has health benefits. Bitter melon aril from Sri Lanka, harvested in Arkansas, USA in 2005, 2006, and 2007 was analyzed. An investigation to develop an extraction method for lycopene from bitter melon was performed using liquid-liquid and a polar liquid extraction. The compositional analysis included determination of moisture, ash, lipid, protein, starch, soluble dietary fiber, insoluble dietary fiber, and mineral content. The proximate characterization of bitter melon aril revealed that it is high in starch with concentrations ranging from 31.4 to 40.3 g/100g. Bitter melon aril had an average of 9.3% soluble fiber, insoluble fiber and protein content individually with no significant difference between harvest seasons. The lipid content was determined to be between 1.7 - 3.1 g/100g of BMAF and had significance differences among harvest seasons. The ripe fruit's aril has major mineral content in potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium and sulfur. The lycopene content was linearly correlated to spectrophotometric absorbance at 476nm. Bitter Melon aril contains 142-170μg/g of lycopenes and other similar compounds with no significant difference.