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Title: Carotenoids in watermelon and mango

item Perkins Veazie, Penelope

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/24/2007
Publication Date: 12/30/2007
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M. 2007. Carotenoids in watermelon and mango. Acta Horticulturae. 746:259-264.

Interpretive Summary: Fruit contain ascorbic acid and carotenoids, which can provide vitamin C, vitamin A, and the phytochemical lycopene to humans. Watermelon is rich in lycopene and mangos contain large amounts of beta carotene, a vitamin A precursor. In this report, a summary of the genetic and storage effects on lycopene in watermelon are presented. A comparison of the beta carotene and vitamin C content of mango varieties indicate that some mango varieties can have 3 to 5 times the average beta carotene and vitamin C content reported for mango. This report indicates that watermelon and mango provide consumers with a strong dietary source of several nutrients and phytochemcials.

Technical Abstract: Carotenoids, which impart yellow, orange, and/or red colors to many fruits, have antioxidant health properties. A series of experiments were undertaken to establish how storage affected carotenoids in cultivars of watermelon and mango in cooperation with U.S. commodity boards. Watermelon was assayed to determine effects of germplasm, storage temperature, and fresh cut on lycopene and beta carotene content. Seedless watermelons were generally highest in lycopene and storage at 21C increased both lycopene and beta carotene contents. Fresh cut watermelon lost about 6% of carotenoids, probably through oxidation of cut surfaces. Mangos of the five major varieties imported over a 12 month period into the U.S. from Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Ecuador were ripened at 20-25C and assayed for beta carotene and vitamin C content. Beta carotene content (mg/kg fwt) averaged 5.0, 7.0, 10.4, 16.8, and 26.1 for ‘Tommy Atkins,’ ‘Haden,’ ‘Keitt,’ ‘Ken,’ and ‘Ataulfo,’ respectively. Total vitamin C (mg/100g fwt) was from 19.2 (‘Tommy Atkins’) to 126.4 (‘Ataulfo’). Results indicate that U.S. watermelons are a rich source of lycopene while mangos imported into the U.S. offer consumers a new natural source of beta carotene and vitamin C.