Storage Characteristics of Small Watermelon Cultivars

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2120 Camden Road, Orlando, FL 32803
  • | 2 Vegetable Crops Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611
  • | 3 Agricultural Research and Education Center, Leesburg, FL 32748
  • | 4 Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Bradenton, FL 32508

Two newly released cultivars of small watermelons [Citrullus lunatus (Thumb.) Matsum and Naki], `Mickylee' and `Minilee', plus two other cultivars, Baby Fun and Sugar Baby, were stored at various temperatures from 1 to 21C for up to 4 weeks plus 1 week at 21C over two seasons. All cultivars were susceptible to chilling injury (CI) when stored below 7C; however, `Minilee' was less susceptible than the other cultivars tested. Chilling injury increased with storage length. Conditioning at 26C for 3 days before storage at 1C reduced CI and increased the percentage of marketable watermelons after storage. Decay percentage increased with storage time and was highest on fruit held at 1C where CI led to decay. The flesh of `Mickylee' and `Minilee' was firmer than that of the other cultivars tested and `Mickylee' and Minilee' retained their firmness better during storage. Total soluble solids concentration decreased with increased storage temperature. `Minilee' watermelons were superior to the other three cultivars in postharvest storage potential and exhibited the least CI and decay.