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Title: LYCOPENE VARIATION AMONG WATERMELONS: CULTIVARS, POTASSIUM, AND RIPENESS

Author
item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Roberts, Warren
item Collins, Julie
item Perez, Kristi

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2003
Publication Date: 10/1/2003
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Roberts, W., Collins, J.K., Perez, K. 2003. Lycopene variation among watermelons: cultivars, potassium, and ripeness. [Abstract]. Hortscience. 38:1295.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The pigment imparting red or pink color to watemelons is lycopene, a carotenoid found to have strong antioxidant properties. Several studies were conducted from 1999 to 2002 to determine the variability in lycopene currently found in watemelon germplasm, the effects of superaoptimal potassium fertilizer on lycopene content, and how ripeness affects lycopene content. A total of 31 red-fleshed watermelons have been evaluated, consisting of 12 seeded and 19 seedless types. Lycopene content ranged from 38 to 104 ug per g fresh weight among cultivars and selections. The mean lycopene contents of seeded *hybrid) and seedless types were 52.1 and 68.2 ug per g, respectively. Variation among the 10 melon cultivars sampled over multiple years was 4 to 30 percent year to year. Application of potassium fertilizer at 2 to 3 times the recommended rates did not increase the lycopene content of 'Sangria' (seeded) melons. Lycopene content in over ripe melons is often similar to that of ripe melons, with unripe melons containing an average of 13% less total lycopene. Our data indicate that ripe fruit of commercially important watermelon cultivars contain at least 50 ug lycopene per g fresh weight.