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Title: Accumulation of lycopene as an indicator of maturity in personal-size melons

item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Davis, Angela

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2008
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: Vinson, E.L., Woods, F.M., Perkins Veazie, P.M., Davis, A.R., Wheeler, F., Burkett, J. 2008. Accumulation of lycopene as an indicator of maturity in personal-size melons [abstract]. HortScience. 43(4):1132.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Significant health benefitS can be derived from consumption of fresh fruit such as watermelon which are high in lycopene content. Therefore it is desirable to determine lycopene content of watermelons at various stages of development in order to harvest at optimal levels. Previous studies characterized changes in lycopene content in watermelon. In the present study, lycopene and beta carotene content were determined in Valdoria and Vanessa personal-sized watermelons at 20, 30, 40 and 50 days post anthesis (DPA). In addition, physicochemical attributes such as pH, titratable acidity (TA), and soluble solids (Brix) were also determined. High sugar:acid ratios are potentially associated with optimal fruit flavor and palatability. In both cultivars, lycopene content peaked at 30 DPA while the sugar:acid ratio peaked at 40 DPA. The data suggest that, in order to obtain maximal health benefit derived from watermelon consumption, fruit flavor may, to some extent, be sacrificed. In this study, beta carotene content increased over time. In Vanessa, beta carotene content was highest at 40 and 50 DPA indicating that, potentially, watermelons were overripe which coincided with maximal sugar:acid ratios. Additional studies are needed in order to definitively correlate lycopene and beta carotene with various physicochemical indicators. Such information would assist in determining an improved convergence of these maturity indices.