Genetics of flavonoid, carotenoid, and chlorophyll pigments in melon fruit rinds

Yaakov Tadmor*, Joseph Burger, Ilan Yaakov, Ari Feder, Smadar E. Libhaber, Vitaly Portnoy, Ayala Meir, Galil Tzuri, Uzi Sa'Ar, Ilana Rogachev, Asaph Aharoni, Hagai Abeliovich, Arthur A. Schaffer, Efraim Lewinsohn, Nurit Katzir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


External color has profound effects on acceptability of agricultural products by consumers. Carotenoids and chlorophylls are known to be the major pigments of melon (Cucumis melo L.) rinds. Flavonoids (especially chalcones and anthocyanins) are also prominent in other fruits but have not been reported to occur in melons fruit. We analyzed the pigments accumulating in rinds of different melon genotypes during fruit development. We found that melon rind color is based on different combinations of chlorophyll, carotenoids, and flavonoids according to the cultivar tested and their ratios changed during fruit maturation. Moreover, in "canary yellow" type melons, naringenin chalcone, a yellow flavonoid pigment previously unknown to occur in melons, has been identified as the major fruit colorant in mature rinds. Naringenin chalcone is also prominent in other melon types, occurring together with carotenoids (mainly β-carotene) and chlorophyll. Both chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments segregate jointly in an F2 population originating from a cross between a yellow canary line and a line with green rind. In contrast, the content of naringenin chalcone segregates as a monogenic trait independently to carotenoids and chlorophyll. Transcription patterns of key structural phenylpropanoid and flavonoid biosynthetic pathway genes were monitored in attempts to explain naringenin chalcone accumulation in melon rinds. The transcript levels of CHI were low in both parental lines, but C4H, C4L, and CHS transcripts were upregulated in "Noy Amid", the parental line that accumulates naringenin chalcone. Our results indicate that naringenin chalcone accumulates independently from carotenoids and chlorophyll pigments in melon rinds and gives an insight into the molecular mechanism for the accumulation of naringenin chalcone in melon rinds.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)10722-10728
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - 13 Oct 2010


  • Carotenoids
  • Chlorophyll
  • Cucumis melo
  • Flavonoids
  • Naringenin chalcone
  • Transcriptional regulation


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