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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PHYSIOLOGICAL AND GENETIC BASIS OF POSTHARVEST QUALITY, DISEASE CONTROL, AND PHYTONUTRIENT CONTENT OF SELECTED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES Title: L-citrulline levels in watermelon cultivars from three locations

Authors
item Davis, Angela
item Fish, Wayne
item Levi, Amnon
item King, Stephen -
item Wehner, Todd -
item Perkins-Veazie, Penelope -

Submitted to: Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 26, 2010
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Producers of fresh fruit and vegetables face increasing production costs and more intense international market competition. Maximizing marketability by offering high quality produce that is also highly nutritious gives new market niches for some crops, such as watermelons, if watermelon lines are found which contain high amounts of these compounds. Surprisingly, there is little information on how genetic affects nutritional quality of most fruit and vegetables. In this preliminary study the importance of genetics versus environment in watermelon citrulline content was examined. Citrulline is a potential blood pressure regulator. The results indicate that variety determines citrulline amount more than environment, indicating that breeding for high citrulline germplasm is possible.

Technical Abstract: Producers of fresh fruit and vegetables face increasing production costs and more intense international market competition. Maximizing marketability by offering high quality produce that is also highly nutritious gives new market niches for some crops, such as watermelons, if appropriate germplasm can be found to enhance nutrients in this crop. There is little information on how genetics affects nutritional quality of most fruit and vegetables. This preliminary study was undertaken to determine the importance of genetics versus environment in amounts of L-citrulline content in watermelon. L-citrulline is an amino acid with potential as a blood pressure regulator. The results indicate that within variety differences occur; (one variety demonstrated a 2 to 19 mg/ml fresh sample deviation) even when grown and tested at one location. Our data indicate that genetics affects the average amount of citrulline accumulated (9 to 18 mg/ml fresh sample), suggesting that breeding for high citrulline germplasm is possible. Environment did not significantly increase within variety (one variety demonstrated a 2 to 22 mg/ml fresh sample deviation over two locations). This further implies the possibility of breeding for lines with constantly high citrulline content across divergent growing environments.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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