Background: The fresh-cut industry produces thousands of tons of waste in non-edible portions that present an environmental and management problem. These by-products could be reused, in particular, to obtain bioactive compounds. In this study, five different fresh-cut watermelon cultivars were assessed for their flesh and by-product bioactive contents.
Results: The amount of by-product varied between 31.27 and 40.61% of initial fresh weight (f.w.) depending on the cultivar. Watermelon cultivars were poor sources of total antioxidant, and the content was similar between rind and flesh samples (46.96 vs 43.46 mg ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant capacity kg(-1) f.w.). However, the rind had a moderate total phenolic content higher than that of the flesh (458 vs 389 mg chlorogenic acid equivalent kg(-1) f.w.) and a much higher content of the amino acid citrulline (3.34 vs 2.33 g kg(-1) f.w.), which has potential bioactive properties.
Conclusion: Watermelon rind offers quantitative interest as a natural source of citrulline, particularly Fashion, a dark-skinned, seedless cultivar. More research is required on the efficient extraction of citrulline from watermelon rind and its suitability as an additive to drinks, juices or others products to produce new functional food products with valid health claims.
Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry.