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Mineral composition and potential nutritional contribution of 34 genotypes from different summer squash morphotypes


Mineral concentrations were determined in fruit of 34 traditional and improved genotypes of Cucurbita pepo. Genotypes belong to two subspecies, the subsp. pepo (classified into zucchini, vegetable marrow and pumpkin morphotypes) and subsp. ovifera (with three varieties: texana, ozarkana and clypeata). Phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and sodium were analyzed, and two distinct patterns of mineral accumulation were found to be evident by cluster analysis. Genotypes in group 1 (zucchini and pumpkin) showed the highest concentrations of total minerals (24,338–62,136 mg kg−1 dry weight) as compared to the genotypes in group 2 (vegetable marrow, var. clypeata, var. texana and var. ozarkana). Some genotypes with significant concentrations for different minerals were identified, with the genotype Cu-2 (traditional zucchini) showing the highest concentrations for K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Zn and Na (4,615, 315, 300, 4.8, 3.03, 3.83 and 9.4 mg kg−1 dry weight, respectively). The zucchini morphotype was superior to other morphotypes studied in terms of contribution to the recommended dietary allowance of mineral content for both men and women. The mineral content of C. pepo fruit reported provides a valuable material for breeding programs to generate lines with a significant long-term beneficial impact on human health.

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Financial support was provided by the Spanish Project INIA-RTA2009-00039-000, FEDER and FSE funds. Damián Martínez-Valdivieso has a contract from INIA-IFAPA (Subprograma FPI-INIA), cofinanced by FSE funds (Programa Operativo FSE de Andalucía 2007-2013_” Andalucía se mueve con Europa”). We would also like to thank Nicholas Davies for his help in grammatical revision of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mercedes Del Río-Celestino.

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Martínez-Valdivieso, D., Gómez, P., Font, R. et al. Mineral composition and potential nutritional contribution of 34 genotypes from different summer squash morphotypes. Eur Food Res Technol 240, 71–81 (2015).

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  • Cucurbita
  • Minerals
  • Epicarp
  • Mesocarp
  • Potassium
  • Zucchini