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item Lester, Gene

Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2004
Publication Date: 9/8/2004
Citation: Lester, G.E., Crosby, K.M. 2004. Human wellness compounds in honeydew fruit: influence of cultivar and environment. Acta Horticulture Proceedings. 639:287-291.

Interpretive Summary: Enrichment of plant foods (fruit and vegetables) for almost all phytonutrients is particularly important as nutritional supplements (pills) can have a debilitating or toxic effect, whereas, there is no known toxicity associated with natural (plant ingested) forms of these compounds; whether it be for ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) or folic acid. Enhancing ascorbic acid and folic acid concentrations in honeydew melon fruit through breeding appears highly feasible. One cultivar TAM Dew Improved (TDI) and the breeding line 'TDI' X 'Green Ice' always had statistically high concentrations of ascorbic acid and folic acid compared to the other fruit lines regardless of fruit size. These high concentrations were reproducible regardless of environmental effects: soil type or year.

Technical Abstract: The influence of cultivar, fruit size, soil type and year on total ascorbic acid (TAA), free ascorbic acid (AA), dehydroascorbic acid (DAA) folic acid (FA) and potassium (K) in [Cucumis melo L. (Inodorous Group)] was determined. Fully mature (abscised) commercial size fruit: 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 (fruit/0.031 m(3) shipping box) from 3 commercial cultivars; Mega Brew, Morning Ice, and TAM Dew Imported (TDI); and one experimental hybrid 'TDI' X 'Green Ice' were grown on both clay loam and sandy loam soils. TAA and FA content increased with an increase in fruit size up to a maximum (size 6 or 5), then decreased with further fruit size increase. Total ascorbic acid and FA content for most fruit sizes were higher when grown on clay loam versus sandy loam soils. The experimental hybrid compared to the commercial cultivars contained generally higher TAA levels and significantly higher FA levels regardless of fruit size or soil type. Free ascorbic acid and DAA contents were generally higher from fruit grown on clay loam versus sandy loam soils and in the experimental line versus the commercial cultivars. However, AA content was high in small fruit and remained unchanged with an increase in fruit size until size 6 or 5 then decreased; while DAA content linearly increased with an increase in fruit size. Potassium content averaged 1.7 mg per g fresh weight for each line and was not affected by fruit size, soil type or year.