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Title: Effect of maturity at harvest on lycopene content and antioxidant activity in 'Vanessa' personal-sized watermelon

item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Davis, Angela
item FOSHEE, W

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2008
Publication Date: 6/2/2008
Citation: Woods, F.M., Vinson, E.L., Perkins Veazie, P.M., Davis, A.R., Kemble, J.M., Foshee, W.G., Burkett, J.E. 2008. Effect of maturity at harvest on lycopene content and antioxidant activity in 'Vanessa' personal-sized watermelon [abstract]. HortScience. 43(3):615.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The stage of maturity at harvest of fresh fruit has a profound effect on marketing and storage of a number of small to medium sized horticultural commodities. In many instances there are established USDA grades and maturity indices to assist growers and the produce industry alike. However, in the case of personal-sized watermelons there is a paucity of information relating physicochemical and internal quality attributes during development and ripening. The present study was therefore designed to characterize two antioxidants in personal-sized watermelon under Alabama growing conditions. Two personal-sized watermelon (Citrullus lunatus cvs. Valdoria and Vanessa) were grown during two seasons (FY s 2006 and 2007) at Auburn University's E.V. Smith Research Station located in Shorter, AL in order to determine the effect of maturity at harvest on Iycopene and carotene content. Fruit quality parameters were detenllined after 20, 30, 40, and 50 days post-anthesis. In both cultivars, lycopene content peaked at 30 days post-anthesis and thereafter declined during both years of determination. In contrast, carotene content increased continuously throughout the study. Total carotenoid content similarly peaked at 30 days after anthesis and remained constant between 30 and 40 days and declined thereafter. Our preliminary findings are useful in determining developmental and ripening changes in personal-sized watermelons. Further studies are needed to definitively establish maturity standards for this fruit.