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The red flesh of watermelon contains the fat-soluble carotenoid pigment lycopene. A high level of lycopene in human blood serum has been correlated with a reduced incidence of several cancers. This experiment was done to determine the variation in lycopene content among watermelon cultivars and ripeness stages. Ten melons per cultivar of hybrid, open-pollinated, and triploid (seedless) types were selected from field plantings at Lane, Okla. Additionally, 20-melon, quarterly shipments of hybrid or triploid types were used from commercial growers. Melons were cut transversely and a 100-g sample of heart tissue was removed from the center, frozen at –80 °C, extracted with a hexane–acetone–ethanol mixture and pigment quantified at 503 nm. Unripe melons (about 3 to 5 days from fully ripe) had 18% less lycopene than ripe melons. The average lycopene content of all ripe melons sampled (open-pollinated, hybrid, triploid) was 47.82 μg/g (n = 247 melons), while that of ripe hybrid and triploid melons was 54.76 μg/g (n = 209 melons). Lycopene content of ripe melons varied among cultivars, from as little as 33.96 μg/g in `Crimson Sweet' to as much as 75.72 μg/g in `Scarlet Trio'. These results indicate that fresh watermelon has a naturally high level of lycopene and that potential for enhanced lycopene content is already present in the germplasm of commercial cultivars.

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Geographical dispersion of production hampers watermelon integrated pest management (IPM) information delivery in Oklahoma. Melon Pest Manager (MPM) was created to educate and provide advisory information on IPM. Available at, the site emphasizes information relevant to the area. MPM was conceived as Internet availability grew and was recognized to have potential for enhancing IPM implementation. Survey of producers suggested the value of Web-based information may depend on how easily it can be accessed. MPM was designed to provide easy access to watermelon IPM information. Compared to printed literature, web-based format is easier to revise and suited to presentation of information that applies yearly as well as that which may change frequently. MPM provides general discussion of melon IPM tactics and pest-identification and time sensitive information such as pest advisories and pesticide registration changes. MPM offers opportunity for novel presentation of educational information such as the real-time posting of field demonstrations. An initial challenge was to balance site development, promotion and education. Promotion and education followed placement of watermelon IPM tactic information on MPM but preceded advisory and pest identification. Pest identification links to existing sources are enhanced by material prepared for MPM. Progress is slowed by the need for expert intervention and the availability of images and descriptive information. Education on use of advisory resources (e.g., disease forecasters) is a high priority. However, availability and applicability of such products is dependent on the home site. The original concept envisaged mapping of pest activity using grower, extension agent and expert input. Time demands of other components of the site delay development of this aspect. Pest alerts are posted and distributed to county extension offices.

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