Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2007
Publication Date: 6/15/2007
Citation: King, S.R., Davis, A.R. 2007. Hot topics for watermelon research: A survey of the industry [abstract]. HortScience. 42(3):454.
Technical Abstract: It is critical for public researchers to address the needs of the industry with which they cooperate. While most active researchers believe that they are serving the needs of the industry, an occasional survey can be a useful tool to monitor and prioritize those needs. A survey was compiled after a discussion at the Watermelon Research Development Working Group meeting in Asheville, NC in 2006. The survey was based on potential problems to the watermelon industry. The survey was sent to watermelon breeders in private industry and handed out to grower participants at the Texas Watermelon Association Meeting, in January 2007. The results were compiled for the breeders and growers separately, and a weighted average was compiled. The top priorities for public research identified by breeders included resistance to gummy stem blight, molecular markers, powdery mildew resistance, pre-harvest fruit quality, grafting, and watermelon fruit blotch. Results of grower priorities were more wide-spread, but the top problems included grafting, Fusarium, Gummy Stem Blight, whiteflies, seedless production, Watermelon Fruit Blotch, Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew, and health benefits. The weighted mean comparison using combined data showed that the top 10 priorities were Gummy Stem Blight, grafting, Fusarium, Powdery Mildew, pre-harvest fruit quality, molecular markers, Watermelon Fruit Blotch, whiteflies, seedless production, and post-harvest fruit quality. While this survey was limited to 5 major seed companies with watermelon breeding programs and only included growers attending the Texas Watermelon Association meeting in 2007, it still provides meaningful insight as to where public researchers should be committing a portion of their research to address needs of the watermelon industry in the US.