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item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Collins, Julie

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2004
Publication Date: 8/15/2004
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Collins, J.K. 2004. Carotenoid changes in stored watermelon fruit[abstract]. HortScience. 39(3):667.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Lycopene, a carotenoid pigment that imparts the red color to red-fleshed watermelons, has antioxidant properties and a high dietary lycopene intake is associated with a reduced incidence of some cancers. The stability of lycopene and other carotenoids is low when isolated from the plant matrix, but behavior of these compounds in the plant matrix is not well understood. This experiment was done to determine how carotenoids changed in stored watermelon fruit. Ten to 20 watermelons each of the cultivars 'Black Diamond' (light red, seeded heirloom), 'Summer Flavor 800' (bright red, seeded hybrid), and 'Sugar Shack' (bright red, seedless triploid) were obtained from local growers and stored for 0 and 12-14 days at 5, 13, and 21 C. Soluble solids content (SSC), pH, and carotenoid content were determined on 40 g of pureed sample. The average lycopene contents were 34, 57, and 58 ug/g for 'Black Diamond', 'Summer Flavor 800', and 'Sugar Shack' melons, respectively. The total lycopene content of all melons stored at 13 C was similar to that of fresh melons. Total lycopene content was 12-24% lower in melons held at 5 C and 12-24% higher in those held at 21 C, compared to fresh watermelons. Both cis- and trans- lycopene increased in 'Sangria' and 'Sugar Shack' melons held at 21 C. B-carotene more than doubled in all melons held at 21 C, increasing from about 1 ug/g to 3 to 5 ug/g. These results indicate that carotenoids are generally stable in stored uncut watermelons, and that carotenoid content can be increased in melons held at 21 C.