Watermelon

watermelons

Image provided by Cecilia McGregor, University of Georgia.

Watermelon is an important crop for human consumption with global production of 105 million tons in 2012 (FAOSTAT). China is the largest producer with 70 million tons (66.43% of total global production). In the U.S., the fresh market value was approximately $460 million in 2014, with production of over 1.45 billion kg grown on over 48,000 hectares (USDA Economic Research Service). Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and California are the major watermelon-producing states and account for about 44 percent of US watermelon production. Since the early years of the 21st century, seedless watermelons (triploid hybrid cultivars) have been the primary type grown commercially for the U.S. market (United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service 2016), accounting for 85 percent of total watermelon shipments in the United States in 2014. However, seeded (diploid) watermelons are still produced and consumed throughout the world, mainly in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America. Because of the high cost of the seed and the difficulty in establishing a stand, seedless watermelon plants are traditionally transplanted into the field, as opposed to direct seeding. Priority diseases identified by US watermelon producers include: fusarium wilt, gummy stem blight, phytophtora fruit rot, powdery mildew, cucumber green mottle mosaic virus and the watermelon strain of papaya ringspot virus.


Watermelon Disease Management

Breeding Watermelon for Disease Resistance


plants with watermelons

Image provided by Cecilia McGregor. University of Georgia.

Watermelon Team

Publications




Presentations

  • Bertucci, M.B., K.M. Jennings, D.W. Monks, J.R. Schultheis, W.B. Thompson, F.W. Louws, D.L. Jordan, N.A. Basinger, S.C. Smith, and M.D. Waldschmidt. Early season crop development, yield, and fruit quality of standard and mini watermelons grafted to several cucurbit rootstocks. Watermelon Research Group, SRASHS, Mobile, AL. Feb. 4, 2017.
  • Fei, Z., Genome variation elucidates evolution and domestication of fruit ripening and quality traits in watermelon. PAG. January, 2017.
  • Guo S., H. Sun, Y. Ren, J. Zhang, S. Tian, G. Gong, H. Zhang, Z. Fei, and Y. Xu. Genome variation elucidates evolution and domestication of fruit ripening and quality traits in watermelon. PAG. January, 2017.
  • Gimode, W.R. and C.E. McGregor. 2017. Fine Mapping of a Major Flowering Time Quantitative Trait Locus in Watermelon Using Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. CROPS 2017, Hudson Alpha, Huntsville, Alabama, June 5-8, 2017.
  • Gimode, W.R., J. Clevenger and C.E. McGregor. Fine Mapping of a Major Flowering Time Quantitative Trait Locus in Watermelon. NAPB 2017, University of California, Davis-CA. August 7 – 10, 2017.
  • Kousik, C.S. 2017. Provided information to Sarah Mock, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief for RFD-TV on research being conducted on watermelon at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory and details of the visit of Dr. Sonny Purdue to USVL. August, 21, 2017. The interview was aired by RFD-TV and is posted on YouTube.
  • Kousik, C.S. Chaired and organized Watermelon Research and Development Group meeting, SRASHS 2017 Annual Meeting. Mobile, AL, 65+ attendees. (38 talks). Feb. 3-5, 2017.
  • Levi, A., S. Steck, M. Horry, R.L. Jarret, P. Wechter, S. Kousik, B. Ward, G. Miller, R. Hassell, and A. Keinath.  An overall small root system in watermelon cultivars indicates a need to improve their lateral fibrous root capacity. Presented at the Watermelon Research and Development Group meeting. Mobile, AL. Feb. 2017.
  • Mandal, M.K., J.L. Ikerd, S. Shrestha, A. Battiste,  A. Boroujerdi, B. Ward, and C.S.  Kousik.  1H NMR and HPLC-based metabolite profiling of watermelon varieties. Presented at the Watermelon Research and Development Group meeting. Mobile, AL. Feb. 2017.
  • Mandal, M.K., H. Suren, and C.S. Kousik. Transcriptomic profiling of watermelon-powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii) interactions.  361-P, Presented at the American Phytopathological Society Annual meeting, San Antonio, TX, August 5-9, 2017.
  • Miller, N., M. Adams, and L.M. Quesada-Ocampo. Evaluation of a new fungicide for management of Fusarium wilt of watermelon. Watermelon Research Group. Mobile, AL, Feb. 2017.
  • Schultheis, J.R. and K.D. Starke. Pollenizer placement considerations effects on watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) yield and quality. Watermelon Research Group, Mobile, AL. Feb. 2017.
  • Starke, K.D. and J.R. Schultheis. Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) yield and quality response to grafted versus non-grafted plants, 2016. Watermelon Research Group, Mobile, AL. February 2017.
  • Wechter, W.P., S.E. Branham, S. Lambel, N. Guner, and A. Levi. Towards the identification of quantitative trait loci and development of molecular markers linked to Fusarium wilt resistance in watermelon. Presented at the Watermelon Research and Development Group meeting. Mobile, AL. Feb. 2017.

  • Adams M.L. and L.M. Quesada-Ocampo. Managing fungal diseases in cucurbits. NC Watermelon Convention. Wrightsville Beach, SC, Mar. 2016.
  • Kousik, C.S., J.L. Ikerd, and M.K. Mandal.  Breadth of resistance of Phytophthora fruit rot resistant watermelon germplasm to Phytophthora capsici isolates from across United States of America.  Phytopathology S4.40. 2016.
  • Kousik C.S., D. Egel, P. Ji, and L.M Quesada-Ocampo.  Fungicide rotation schemes and Melcast for managing Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon in Southeastern United States. Phytopathology. 2016.
  • Kousik, C.S. Progress and challenges in managing Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon. Indiana Horticultural Congress, Indianapolis, IN, 45 attendees, January. 2016.
  • Kousik, C.S. Managing Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon. Georgia Watermelon Association, St. Simmons, GA, 100+attendees. January. 2016.
  • Kousik, C.S. Breadth of Resistance of USVL Developed Phytophthora Fruit Rot Resistant Germplasm Lines to Phytophthora capsici Isolates from Across USA. SRASHS Watermelon Research and Development Group meeting. San Antonio, TX, 50+ attendees.Feb. 2016.
  • Kousik, C.S. Chaired and organized Watermelon Research and Development Group meeting. SRASHS, San Antonio, TX, 50+ attendees. (26 talks)Feb. 2016.
  • Kousik, C.S. Progress and challenges in managing Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon. U.S. Vegetable Laboratory Seminar. Charleston, SC. March 2016.
  • Levi, A., A. Simmons, K. Ling, Y. Tadmor, P. Nimmakayala, and U.K. Reddy. Utilizing Genetic Diversity in the Desert Watermelon Citrullus colocynthis for Enhancing Watermelon Cultivars for Resistance to Biotic and Abiotic Stress. p. 105-108. In E.U. Kozik and H.S. Paris (eds). Cucurbitaceae 2016, XIth EUCARPIA Meeting on Genetics and Breeding of Cucurbitaceae, Warsaw, Poland.  2016.
  • Mandal, M.K., C.S. Kousik, and B. Ward. Molecular Dissection of Resistance Signaling in Watermelon fruit through Metabolomics and Transriptomic Approach. Watermelon Research and Development Group meeting. San Antonio, TX. Feb. 0+ attendees.  2016.
  • McGregor, C.E. Advances in Watermelon Breeding. Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference, 8-10 January 2016, Savannah, GA. 2016.
  • Miller N.F. and L.M. Quesada-Ocampo. Evaluation of a new fungicide for management of Fusarium wilt of watermelon. NCSU Masters Symposium, Raleigh, NC, Nov. 2016.
  • Schultheis, J.R. Grafted vs. nongrafted watermelon studies. NC Watermelon Convention. Wrightsville Beach, NC, Mar. 2016.
  • Schultheis, J.R. and W.B. Thompson. Watermelon cultivar yield and quality trial results, North Carolina, 2015. Watermelon Research Group, San Antonio, TX, Feb. 2016.
  • Schultheis, J.R. and W.B. Thompson. Watermelon yield and fruit size response to grafted versus non-grafted transplants in plasticulture and bare ground production systems. Watermelon Research Group, San Antonio, TX, Feb. 2016.
  • Starke, K.D., B. Thompson, C. Jiang, and J. Schultheis. Planting density influences mini-watermelon yield and quality. VII International Symposium on Seed, Transplant and Stand Establishment of Horticultural Crops, Pretoria, South Africa, September 2016.
  • Quesada-Ocampo L. M. Downy mildew and Phytophthora control in cucurbits. NC Watermelon Convention. Wrightsville Beach, NC, Mar. 2016.

  • Bertucci, M., K. Jennings, D. Monks, D. Jordan, F. Louws, and J. Schultheis. Competitiveness of grafted watermelon plants versus non-grafted watermelon plants at various times of weedy and weed-free intervals. 30th Annual Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo. Myrtle Beach, SC. Dec. 2015.
  • Kousik, C.S., J. Pingsheng, and L.M Quesada-Ocampo.  Fungicide rotation schemes for managing Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon across Southeastern United States (NC, SC, GA). International soilborne Oomycete conference, Duck Key, FL. December 2015.
  • Miller N.F. and L.M. Quesada-Ocampo. New control options for Fusarium wilt in watermelon. 30th Annual Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo. Myrtle Beach, NC, Dec. 2015.
  • Schultheis, J.R. and S. Johnson. Grafted versus nongrafted watermelon studies using bare ground or plasticulture production methods. 30th Annual Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo. Myrtle Beach, SC. Dec. 2015.