The Most Bitter Substances in the World
At least one ninth of all 900 species of gourds produce chemicals known as cucurbiticins. The 10 cucurbiticins so far identified are the most bitter substances known to human taste. In tests, subjects were able reliably to identify amounts as diluted at one part per billion! Cucurbiticins are also poisonous. Livestock have been known to die from eating gourds containing the chemical. But most plant eaters, including insects, know to stay away from the gourds that contain this chemical.
Despite the bitterness of cucurbiticins, a family of 1,500 species of beetles, including cucumber beetles, love to eat the chemical. They can detect the chemical in plants several yards away, or even further if the gourd is injured. When these beetles find a gourd with the chemical in it, researchers say they almost seem compulsive about eating it. As a test, researchers laced tiny grains of sand with cucurbiticins. The beetles actually ate the sand!
Much of the bitterness in our lives comes when we try to live life by our own rules rather than the rules of our Creator. Think of the Bible as an owner's manual for your life on Earth. Not only does it tell us how God designed us to live, but it tells us of our Savior Who came to rescue us from the consequences of our disobedience to God.