Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Powerful Pumpkins, Super Squash

Date:
November 10, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Carotenoids, the family of yellow to red pigments found in pumpkins and tomatoes, plays an important role in human health by acting as sources of provitamin A or as protective antioxidants but identifying and quantifying carotenoids hasn't been simple. Florida researchers investigated whether color analysis can be used to predict carotenoid content. Results indicate the new method "will be successful, easy to implement, and inexpensive."

A broad range of carotenoid content represents a spectrum of color in winter and summer squash.
Credit: Photo by Rachel Itle

Carotenoids, the family of yellow to red pigments responsible for the striking orange hues of pumpkins and the familiar red color of vine-ripe tomatoes, play an important role in human health by acting as sources of provitamin A or as protective antioxidants.

Related Articles


Pumpkins and squash, available in a wide range of white, yellow, and orange colors, are excellent sources of dietary carotenoids, particularly lutein, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene. The colors of these nutritional vegetables are determined by their genetic makeup -- the concentration and type of carotenoids they contain -- which are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.

The good news: this wide range of carotenoids in pumpkins and squash provides fertile ground for genetic improvement. When breeders have reliable information about carotenoid types and concentrations, they can work to improve the vegetables' nutritional value and create new varieties of antioxidant-packed offerings for consumers.

But identifying and quantifying carotenoids hasn't been simple; scientists traditionally use a method called "high-performance liquid chromatography," or HPLC. HPLC is highly sensitive and reproducible, but can be expensive and time-consuming. To determine if carotenoid content of pumpkin and squash could be accurately measured using a less-expensive and simpler method, Rachel A. Itle and Eileen A. Kabelka from the University of Florida's Horticultural Sciences Department designed a research study using colorimetric analysis to correlate color space values with carotenoid content in pumpkins and squash. The study appeared in a recent issue of HortScience.

Pumpkins and squash with white, yellow, and orange flesh color were grown at multiple locations for the study. The flesh of each specimen was evaluated using both HPLC and colorimetric analysis. According to the research, "strong correlations between colorimetric values and carotenoid content were identified."

Interestingly, the researchers found a "nine-fold increase in total carotenoids provided within orange-red and yellow-orange colored cultigens versus yellow colored cultigens."

The research determined that colormetric analysis can aid breeders interested in increasing carotenoid content in pumpkins and squash. The method, Kabelka concluded, "will be successful, easy to implement, and inexpensive".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Itle, Rachel A., Kabelka, Eileen A. Correlation Between L*a*b* Color Space Values and Carotenoid Content in Pumpkins and Squash (Cucurbita spp.). HortScience, 2009; 44: 633-637 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Powerful Pumpkins, Super Squash." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104111733.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, November 10). Powerful Pumpkins, Super Squash. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104111733.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Powerful Pumpkins, Super Squash." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104111733.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins