University of California

Factors affecting the total soluble solids, reducing sugars, and sucrose in watermelons


D. R. Porter
C. S. Bisson
H. W. Allinger

Authors Affiliations

D. R. Porter was Associate Professor of Truck Crops and Associate Olericulturist in the Experiment Station. Resigned January 1, 1939; C. S. Bisson was Professor of Chemistry and Chemist in the Experiment Station; H. W. Allinger was Analyst, Division of Chemistry.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 13(2):31-66. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v13n02p031. February 1940.

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Edible quality in watermelons is determined by several contributing chemical and physical factors. To be of high quality the flesh must be deep red in color, of crisp texture, and high in sugar content. Our American varieties manifest marked variation of these characters and foreign varieties are even more variable. While the relative intensity of these characters may vary slightly from season to season in a given locality, such variation is much less pronounced than the consistent differences among varieties. Many varieties have been grown at Davis annually since 1930, and yearly differences in these characters, while slight, could easily be due to a slight difference in genetic constitution of variety. For instance, Striped Klondike No. 11 has consistently contained more sugar than other varieties tested. Again, Tom Watson and Kleckley Sweet, annually have manifested pale-red rather than deep-red color. Thus, year after year, the varieties maintain a certain identity.

It is not inferred here that these characters might not be influenced by environmental conditions, extent of foliage development, or total fruit yield expressed in pounds per plant. Varieties do vary in the amount of leaf surface and relative size of leaves. Certain small-fruited varieties characteristically produce six to ten fruits, while others, such as Tom Watson, rarely produce more than three fruits per plant.

Literature Cited

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[9] Tucker L. R. Soluble solids in the watermelon. Plant Physiol. 1934. 9:181-82. DOI: 10.1104/pp.9.1.181 [CrossRef]

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[11] Wenholz H. Plant breeding in New South Wales. Ninth year of progress, 1934-35. N. S. Wales Dept. Agr. Sci. Bul. 1936. 51:42

Porter D, Bisson C, Allinger H. 1940. Factors affecting the total soluble solids, reducing sugars, and sucrose in watermelons. Hilgardia 13(2):31-66. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v13n02p031
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