Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2007
Publication Date: April 30, 2007
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Zhang, X., Lu, G., Huan, J. 2007. Grafting increases lycopene in seedless watermelon [abstract]. HortScience. 42(4):959.
Although watermelon grafting has been done for years in Asia and Europe, this production method is still novel to the U.S. Fruit from four rootstocks with scions of the seedless watermelons Palomar, TriX313, Matrix, and Petite Perfection were compared for soluble solids content, pH, and carotenoids. Samples were harvested from fruit grown in Naples Florida in May and December and from Woodland, California in August of 2006. Fruit of non-grafted watermelons were consistently lower in lycopene content (10 to 30%) compared to those from the rootstocks Emphasis (C. lagenaria), Ojakayo (wild Citrullus), BN111 and BN911 (C. strongitosis). Ojakayo and BN911 impart heat tolerance and Emphasis is used to improve cold tolerance. Moreover, differences in lycopene content of fruit from Florida compared to California were striking. Petite Perfection fruit grown in California had almost twice as much lycopene as those grown in Florida. The SSC and pH of fruit was not different between locations. These results indicate that carotenoids in watermelon can be much more affected by environment than previously thought. Further, the right combination of rootstock and scion can increase total lycopene, probably through enhanced photosynthesis resulting from improved plant health.