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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Collins, Julie
item Huber, Donald
item Maness, Niels

Submitted to: Cucurbitaceae Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2006
Publication Date: 9/15/2006
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Collins, J.K., Huber, D., Maness, N. 2006. Ripening changes in mini watermelon fruit. In: Cucurbitaceae 2006, September 17-21, 2006, Asheville, North Carolina. p. 578-584.

Interpretive Summary: The popular, small (mini) watermelons are sweet, seedless, and bright red in color. This study was done by scientists at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory, Lane, OK to determine changes occurring during ripening in order to determine the best harvest and handling procedures. The three varieties studied showed similar changes in sugar accumulation, pH, pectins, and lycopene with ripening. Beta carotene, a pigment that is a vitamin A precursor, was higher in one of the varieties than in the others and pectin size was also larger. These results show that mini watermelons ripen in a manner similar to the large fruited varieties, and that harvesting and handling processes will need to be adapted for the much smaller fruit size, but not for ripening differences.

Technical Abstract: In this study, seedless and seeded mini watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) of ripe, underripe, and overripe stages were evaluated for quality characteristics and changes in carotenoids and pectins. Similar to seeded, large watermelon, minimelon weight, pH, and soluble solids content increased in fruit between underripe and ripe stages, while firmness decreased. Phytofluene, total, trans-, and cis- lycopene, and total carotenoid content increased as fruit changed from underripe to ripe stages. B-carotene content increased in overripe fruit compared to ripe fruit and may explain the orange tint that is seen in overripe watermelons. The proportion of large molecular weight pectins increased as minimelons became fully ripe then overripe. Among cultivars, 'Xite' had firmer flesh, thicker rind, and more lycopene than 'Minipool' or 'Valdoria'. 'Minipool' had fewer large molecular weight pectins while 'Valdoria' had more B-carotene and large molecular weight pectins compared to 'Xite'.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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