Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #120942


item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Collins, Julie

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2001
Publication Date: 8/1/2001
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Collins, J.K. 2001. Lycopene stability in stored or minimally processed watermelon [abstract]. HortScience. 36(5):851.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Watermelon contains high amounts of the antioxidant lycopene. Previous work has shown that lycopene content varies with maturity and germplasm. Lycopene appears to be unstable once removed from the fruit or vegetable matrix. This experiment was done to determine how much lycopene is lost from watermelon during storage and how much may be lost after fruit is cut for fresh packs. Watermelon cultivars 'Summer Sweet 5244' (seedless) and 'Summer Flavor 800' (seeded) were harvested from a commercial grower and transported to Lane, Okla. Twenty melons per cultivar were stored at 5 and 13 C for 14 days (10 melons per temperature). An additional 8 melons were used to make minimally processed packs of watermelon cut into 5 cm cubes and stored at 2 and 5 C for 2 and 7 days. Total lycopene content was determined by hexane extraction and measurement on spectrophotometer at 503 nm. Additional samples were analyzed by HPLC to determine carotenoid profiles. Lycopene content was slightly higher initially for 'Summer Flavor 800' and was similar between cultivars after storage. Lycopene content was 6 to 10% lower in stored melons compared to fresh melons. Fresh cut watermelon was 6 to 15% lower in lycopene compared to fresh whole melons. HPLC profiles of watermelons indicated no shift in carotenoid profiles. These results indicate that lycopene is quite stable in watermelon when fruit are stored or cut for fresh packs.