The influences of storage period and morphotypes on the proximate and selected vitamins of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) fruits
Keywords:gourd fruit, protein, pumpkin fruits, squash, room temperature, shelf life, vitamins
Pumpkin, a member of the Cucurbitaceae plant family is an underutilized crop in Nigeria. This plant requires minimal agronomic input to produce optimal yield and it is drought tolerant. However, due to preservation, the fruit does not remain biochemically the same. What happens to squash stored for months after harvesting at room temperature needs to be examined from nutritional point of view. Therefore, this study was performed to evaluate the effects of storage at ambient temperature and relative humidity on selected vitamins (A, C, and E), and the proximate (crude protein, crude fiber, crude ash, and carbohydrate) in the green and orange morphotypes of pumpkin fruit. Pumpkins harvested in 2015 were stored for 4 months (January to April) and nutritional parameters evaluated monthly using standard assays. The results showed that the vitamin A content did not change significantly (P<0.05) over the storage period and morphotypes while the vitamin C and vitamin E contents decreased by 15% and 18%, respectively, when comparing the 1st and 4th months of storage. Crude protein and fat content decreased significantly over the storage period. However, crude fiber and ash increased in storage time. Except for crude fiber, the two morphotypes behaved similarly over the storage period. Remarkably, vitamin A concentrations in squash did not change after harvest, and some of the nutrients studied were not significantly affected during the first 4 months of storage. This information is especially important for people in rural areas limited in modern ways of storing fruit vegetable after harvest.
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