J Agric Food Chem 2003 Jun;51(12):3582-5
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, South Central Agriculture Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 159, Lane, Oklahoma 74555, USA.
The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the rate of deterioration of lycopene in watermelon tissue during frozen storage, because little is known about the stability of watermelon tissue lycopene under cold storage conditions. Heart tissue from each of nine individual watermelons was stored at -20 or -80 degrees C as either small chunks or puree and periodically sampled over a year's time. Initial freeze-thaw experiments indicated that a small percentage of lycopene, approximately 4-6%, degraded during an initial freeze-thaw. Analyses of the samples showed a loss of approximately 30-40% lycopene over a year's storage at -20 degrees C and a loss of approximately 5-10% over the same period at -80 degrees C. Lycopene was slightly more stable in pureed compared with diced watermelon tissue at -20 degrees C, but not at -80 degrees C. The kinetic data were best fitted by application of two simultaneous, first-order decay processes. HPLC analysis of the samples after a year's storage suggested that beta-carotene was more stable during storage at -20 degrees C than was lycopene.