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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: In search of high lycopene watermelon

Authors
item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Davis, Angela

Submitted to: Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2004
Publication Date: February 15, 2004
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Davis, A.R. 2004. In search of high lycopene watermelon. Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report. 27:51-53.

Interpretive Summary: Watermelon contains lycopene, a pigment that has been found to prevent heart disease and may prevent certain cancers. Using conventional breeding, we crossed two seeded watermelon varieties. We found that lycopene appeared to be inherited in a dominant fashion. This indicates that increasing lycopene content in watermelon may be relatively simple.

Technical Abstract: Watermelon contains lycopene, a pigment that has been found to prevent heart disease and may prevent certain cancers. A large number of watermelon varieties have been developed over the years, but little effort has been made to determine the range of lycopene present among varieties. We found that several varieties are in use that have a lycopene ranging from 60 to 100 ug/g, more than double the lycopene found in fresh tomato. Further, when a low lycopene containing variety (Black Diamond) was crossed with Dixie Lee, a high lycopene variety, lycopene appeared to be inherited in a dominant fashion. These results indicate that increasing lycopene content in watermelon may be relatively simple.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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