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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 May 28;56(10):3694-8. doi: 10.1021/jf8001735. Epub 2008 May 3.

Antioxidant, sugar, mineral, and phytonutrient concentrations across edible fruit tissues of orange-fleshed honeydew melon (Cucumis melo L.).

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  • 1Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Building 200, 2413 East U.S. Highway 83, Weslaco, Texas 78596, USA.


Orange-fleshed, non-netted honeydew ( Cucumis melo L.) is a relatively new melon in the marketplace and has shown a lot of potential as an alternative to netted muskmelons (cantaloupes), which are often prone to surface contamination by enteric bacteria. Orange-fleshed honeydew is a cross between orange-fleshed cantaloupe and non-netted, green-fleshed honeydew. This glasshouse study investigated the nutritional profile (phytonutrient and sugar contents) in different tissues of mature orange-fleshed honeydew melon fruit. The equatorial mesocarp of ripe fruit was segmented into hypodermal (subpeel), outer, middle, and inner (near the seed cavity) tissues and then assayed for total sugars, mineral nutrients, phytonutrients, total proteins, and enzymatic antioxidant activities. The concentrations of soluble solids, sucrose, total sugars, beta-carotene, and 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid increased in an inward direction from the subpeel mesocarp tissues toward the seed cavity. The activities of ascorbate peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase also increased in an inward direction. The concentrations of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and sodium all decreased in the inward direction. When expressed on a dry weight basis, the concentrations of ascorbic acid, boron, copper, fructose, glucose, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc were higher in the subpeel region compared to the inner mesocarp tissues, but the reverse was true when data were expressed on a fresh weight basis. These data reveal that there is considerable variation in sugars, minerals, and phytonutrients across the mesocarp regions and that expressing the data on a fresh or dry weight basis can alter interpretations of the nutritional significance and health benefits of fruit. The data also confirm that orange-fleshed honeydew melon can be a rich source of many human health-related nutrients.

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