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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #121553


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 from watermelon: research and possibilities [abstract]. HortScience. 36(5)843.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Watermelon contains high amounts of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in only a few plants. Currently, our lab is identifying lycopene and related carotenoids from watermelon and determining the potential for health properties. Past research was conducted to determine the effects of germplasm, fruit maturity, and storage on watermelon lycopene content. Lycopene was found in sizeable amounts (mean of 50 ug/g) in 15 red-fleshed watermelon cultivars, including diploid, triploid, and hybrid melons. Two yellow-fleshed genotypes ('Hopi Yellow' and 'Solid Gold') contained 0 to 5 ug/g lycopene. Fresh unripe (ca 4-7 days from full ripe) watermelons had slightly less lycopene (10%) than fully ripe fruit. Uncut ripe fruit had less than 10% loss of lycopene after two weeks of storage at 5 or 13 C, while cut fruit had a 10-15% loss of lycopene after 7 days of storage at 2 or 5 C. Watermelon from all studies were characterized for lycopene cis and trans lycopene isomers using HPLC with photodiode array. One large trans lycopene peak and 2-3 smaller cis lycopene peaks were tentatively identified in all germplasm. Work is in progress to determine the effects of environment on lycopene content. Other cooperative research is being conducted with human clinical trials and animal and in vitro trials with lycopene from watermelon.