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Title: Cucurbits [Cucumber, melon, pumpkin and squash]

item Lester, Gene

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2009
Publication Date: 10/11/2011
Citation: Hodges, D., Lester, G.E. 2011. Cucurbits [Cucumber, melon, pumpkin and squash]. In: Terry, L., editor. Health-Promoting Properties of Fruit and Vegetables. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. p. 118-134.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The focus of this chapter is on the edible members of the Cucurbitaceae family. The three important food-grade cucurbit genera Citrullus, Cucumis, and Cucurbita include the species Citrullus lanatus watermelons), Cucumis melo (cantaloupes and other sweet melons), Cucumis sativa (cucumbers and pickles) and Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita mixta, and Cucurbita moshta, (squashes, gourds and pumpkins); all have edible fruits with the exception of gourds. The intent of this chapter is to provide a brief description of the 1) botany and physiology of edible cucurbit species, 2) Cucurbits and human health, 3) phytochemical (human health interactive compound) composition and the bioavailability of some major nutrients (ascorbate, carotenoids, L-Citrulline, phenolics, and potassium), 4) pre- and postharvest factors which may influence the availability of specific major phytonutrients of fresh cucumbers, cantaloupe and honey dew melon, squash, pumpkins, and watermelon, and 5) future research needs.