Characterisation and functional properties of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) seed proteins

J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Jan 15;91(1):113-21. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4160. Epub 2010 Sep 7.


Background: People in developing countries depend largely on non-conventional protein sources to augment the availability of proteins in their diets. Watermelon seed meal is reported to contain an adequate amount of nutritional proteins that could be extracted for use as nutritional ingredients in food products.

Results: Osborne classification showed that globulin was the major protein (≥500 g kg (-1)) present in watermelon seed meal, followed by albumin and glutelin. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that the polypeptides had low molecular weights ranging from 35 to 47 kDa. Isoelectric focusing revealed that the isoelectric point of most proteins was in the acidic range 4-6. These proteins are rich in aspartic acid, glutamic acid and serine. An increase in pH (5-9) significantly (P < 0.05) decreased the denaturation enthalpy of these proteins. Among functional properties, albumin exhibited a much higher dispersibility index (810.3-869.6 g kg(-1)) than globulin (227.8-245.4 g kg(-1)), glutelin (182.1-187.7 g kg(-1)) and prolamin (162.3-177.7 g kg(-1)). Digestibility was in the ranges 760.6-910.0 and 765.5-888.5 g kg(-1) for Mateera and Sugar Baby watermelon protein fractions respectively, while surface hydrophobicity ranged from 126.4 to 173.2 and from 125.8 to 169.3 respectively. The foaming and emulsifying properties of albumin were better than those of the other proteins studied.

Conclusion: The good nutritional and functional properties of watermelon seed meal proteins suggest their potential use in food formulations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / chemistry*
  • Citrullus / chemistry*
  • Globulins / chemistry*
  • Glutens / chemistry*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry*
  • Seeds / chemistry*


  • Albumins
  • Globulins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Glutens