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Developing and
enhancing the
genetics of economically-important

Watermelon Research and Development Group

Report from 2005 Annual Meeting

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Little Rock, Arkansas
February 6, 2005

Benny D. Bruton, Chairman
US Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
Lane, Oklahoma 74555

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The 25th annual meeting of the Watermelon Research and Development Working Group was held Sunday, February 6, 2005 in Little Rock, AR in conjunction with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists and the Southern Region of the American Society for Horticultural Science. Refreshments were sponsored by Syngena Seeds, so please let Xingping Zhang and the other Syngenta folks know that we really appreciate our sponsors!

Minutes (contributed by Steve King)

The first item of business was seed company releases and updates. Xingping Zhang (Syngenta Seeds), Don Dobbs (Willhite Seed), Brenda Lanini (Harris Moran), Gary Elmstrom (Sunseeds), Glen Price (Sugar Creek Seeds) and Pete Suddarth (Abbott & Cobb) each gave updates on new products and emerging problems facing the seed industry. These updates were followed by a talk by Tom Williams, Watermelon Consultant, on the success of the personal size seedless watermelon and then by P. Dittmar and J. Schultheis, North Carolina State University who talked about the characterization of the growth and development of commercially available watermelon cultivars. Statewide watermelon trial results were presented by Don Maynard, University of Florida who gave a review of Florida statewide watermelon trials and Steve King, Texas A&M University who reviewed Texas statewide watermelon trials for 2004. The morning session concluded with the topic of managing foliar diseases: John Damicon, Oklahoma State University, talked about controlling powdery mildew, anthracnose and downy mildew diseases in watermelon; Tony Keinath, Clemson University, talked about controlling gummy stem blight and preventing fungicide resistance in the greenhouse and field; and Kenny Seebold and Ron Gitaitis, University of Georgia talked about how to differentiate between Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli and Acidovorax facilis: why does it matter?

Following the lunch break, special presentations were provided by Steven Fore, Director of Research, National Watermelon Promotion Board, who talked about the watermelon consumer: what they know and how they respond in the retail market, and David Thompson, Rutgers University who gave an overview of the workshop on Phytophthora capsici in cucurbits that was held the previous day.

The afternoon session continued with the following research updates:

  • G. Holmes, North Carolina State University. Forecasting long-distance movement of cucurbit downy mildew in 2005.
  • W. Roberts, W. Fish and B. Bruton. Oklahoma State University and USDA-ARS. Grafted watermelon affects fruit quality.
  • W. Roberts, W. Fish, B. Bruton and T. Popham. Oklahoma State University and USDA-ARS. Improving the fresh cut quality of watermelons through grafting and root stock selection.
  • N. Guner and T. Wehner, North Carolina State University. Watermelon genes controlling fruit traits.
  • A. Levi, C. Thomas, A. Davis, S. King, G. Gusmini, T. Wehner, Y. Xu, J. King and X. Zhang. USDA-ARS; Texas A&M University, North Carolina State University, Seminis, Inc, and Syngenta Seeds. Development of genetic linkage map and expressed sequence tag (EST) DNA library for watermelon.
  • P. Perkins-Veazie, USDA-ARS. Lycopene, citruline, and low sugar watermelons for human health.
  • A. Davis, T. Wehner, A. Levi and S. King. USDA-ARS, North Carolina State University and Texas A&M University. Update on powdery mildew resistance screening in watermelon.
  • B. Bruton, P Roberts and R. Muchovej. USDA-ARS and University of Florida. Status of watermelon vine decline and fruit rot in Florida.

The meeting concluded with a discussion of Fusarium wilt differentials.

In addition to our refreshment sponsors, we are grateful to SAAS and SRASHS for providing support and a room for us to meet.

Past refreshment sponsors

  • Syngenta Seeds: Little Rock, Arkansas - 2005
  • Abbott & Cobb:Tulsa, Oklahoma - 2004
  • Seminis Seeds:Mobile, Alabama – 2003
  • National Watermelon Promotion Board: Kissimmee, Florida - 2002
  • Sugar Creek Seed Inc.: Ft. Worth, Texas - 2001
  • Willhite Seeds: Lexington, Kentucky - 2000
  • Novartis Seeds Inc.: Memphis, Tennessee - 1999
  • Sunseeds: Little Rock, Arkansas - 1998
  • Barham Seeds: Birmingham, Alabama - 1997
  • American SunMelon: Greensboro, North Carolina - 1996
  • Willhite Seeds: New Orleans, Louisiana - 1995
  • Asgrow Seed Company: Nashville, Tennessee - 1994
  • American SunMelon:Tulsa, Oklahoma - 1993


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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 19 February, 2008