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Physiological and Genetic Basis of Postharvest Quality, Disease Control, and Phytonutrient Content of Selected Fruits and Vegetables


The overall objective of this project is to develop value-added products from fruits and vegetables, especially those containing phytonutrients. Anthocyanins and carotenoids are plant pigments that contribute to fruit quality and are also phytonutrients, and will be one objective of this project. Other objectives include selection and breeding of watermelon for enhanced lycopene content and modification of fruit quality for new market niches. <P> <OL> <LI> Determine the impact(s) of pre-harvest production factors on quality, including phytonutrients, for selected fruits and vegetables. <LI> Develop techniques to reduce losses due to post-harvest disease in selected fruits and vegetables. <LI>Determine the impact(s) of post-harvest handling and storage factors on quality, including phytonutrients, for selected fruits and vegetables. <LI> Develop an analytical/screening technique/molecular markers for L-citrulline, glutathione, ornathine, and carotenoids in watermelon and other cucurbits. <LI> Determine the inheritance/sequence of the carotenoid genes in watermelon. <LI>Develop processes for economical extraction and purification of value-added components of selected fruits and vegetables.

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Experiments to determine the physiology and develop technology necessary to extend the shelf life, marketability, and phytonutrient content of highly perishable fruits will be conducted. Enhancement of watermelon germplasm for market traits will be done using classical breeding techniques and exploration of the carotenoid path in watermelon will be done using molecular methodology. Food-grade formulations for extraction and stabilization of aqueous-based lycopene for extended shelf will be developed.

Bruton, Benny D; Davis, Angela R; Fish, Wayne
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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