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Title: Ripening events in seeded watermelons

item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Davis, Angela

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2007
Publication Date: 7/1/2007
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Davis, A.R. 2007. Ripening events in seeded watermelons [abstracts]. HortScience. 42(4):927.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Seeded watermelons generally start color development in the locule (seed cavity), with color progressing to the center of the fruit during the ripening process. Soluble solids content (SSR) is thought to be highest at the blossom end. In large-fruited watermelon where only a portion of the fruit is feasibly tested for quality, an accurate and reproducible sampling method must be developed. In this study, changes in carotenoids, pH, and SSC from rind to heart were studied in ripening watermelons. Fruit were cut longitudinally from stem end to blossom end through the ground spot, and samples taken from blossom, center, and stem ends in heart, locule, interlocular, and rind areas. Black Diamond, Allsweet, and Dixie Lee watermelons were sampled at unripe (about 7-10 days before full ripeness), ripe, and overripe (visible orange tint, about 7-10 days past ripeness) stages. The pH of locular tissue was highest at all ripeness stages and rind and interlocular areas were lowest. SSC and lycopene were highest in the locule, followed by heart, interlocular, and rind tissues at all stages. Changes in lycopene between heart and locular tissue were more marked in high lycopene types and in overripe watermelons. In Dixie Lee, ripe fruit had 100 mg/kg compared to 71 mg/kg lycopene in locule and heart, respectively and 121 and 63 mg/kg lycopene in overripe fruit. Such large changes between locule and heart tissue highlight the importance of uniform and documented sampling methods when determining the lycopene and SSC of watermelon cultivars.