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.

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 August 30, 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 August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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