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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Variation in carotenoids among mini watermelons produced in four locations in the Eastern U.S.)

item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Collins, Julie
item Hassell, Richard
item Maynard, Donald
item Schultheis, Jonathan
item Jester, Bill
item Olson, Steve

Submitted to: Cucurbitacea
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2006
Publication Date: 9/10/2006
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Collins, J.K., Hassell, R.L., Maynard, D.N., Schultheis, J., Jester, B., Olson, S. 2006. Variation in carotenoids among mini watermelons produced in four locations in the Eastern U.S. Cucurbitacea. p. 591-596.

Interpretive Summary: The popular, small (mini) watermelon are sweet, seedless, and bright red in color. This study was done to determine differences in lycopene and other carotenoids among 18 varieties, and the effects of multiple production sites on variation in carotenoids. All mini watermelon varieties were high in sugar, rich in lycopene and a few were also high in beta carotene, a vitamin A precursor. Three varieties were found to exceed 90 mg lycopene per kg fruit flesh, considerably higher than the average 45 mg per kg reported for watermelon. Watermelons grown in North and South Florida were higher in lycopene than those grown in North or South Carolina, for unknown reasons. Results indicate that mini watermelons are a sweet source of lycopene and that geographical location may influence lycopene content.

Technical Abstract: Eighteen miniwatermelon (Citrullus lanatus) cultivars or lines (cultigens), all representing mini size (less than 4 kg), were grown in South and North Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The watermelon was produced at each location using plasticulture (black plastic mulch and drip irrigation) at an in-row spacing of 0.46 m and row center spacing of 2.7 m Fertilization and pest management practices were varied according to recommendations for each state. Tissue from three to five ripe fruit per plot per location was sampled for lycopene and carotenoids for each of the minimelon cultigens. Germplasm rather than location most affected total lycopene content. There was a strong geographical production effect on total lycopene, with fruit from the two Florida locations having 10 to 15 mg/kg more lycopene than fruit from the other two locations. Two minimelon cultigems had unusually high B-carotene levels. In summary, minimelons have high amounts of lycopene, over 100 mg/kg in some cultigens, and production environment can significantly affect lycopene content.

Last Modified: 05/23/2017
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