Phenotypic Characterization of Citron Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides) Genotypes for Bioenergy Production

  •  Kelebonye Bareeleng    
  •  Anastacia T. Molubi    
  •  Boineelo Slyvia Kgokong    
  •  Keletsositse Kgokong    
  •  Masego Masukujane    
  •  Marea Radikgomo    
  •  Golekwang Keabotse    
  •  Oteng Orebotswe    
  •  Odireleng Molosiwa    


Citron watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides) is an important climate smart crop, characterized by high oil content in the seeds and it is a popular fruit in southern Africa. To determine best performing genotypes eight phenotypic traits were assessed to identify cultivars with potential for biodiesel production. A field experiment was conducted at Sebele Agricultural Research Station, in Southern Botswana, during 2019 to 2020 cropping season. Four (4) melon genotypes were planted in a Randomized Complete Block Design replicated three times and eight (8) characters were assessed. Except seed oil content (26.6%) there was significant (P < 0.05) difference among all the traits, an indication of higher genetic diversity in the selected citron watermelon. SC1-Sesoswane, exhibited highest seed yield (1540 kg/ha) and oil yield (435.03 kg/ha) while MMB-280-Lerotse recorded lowest seed yield and oil yield of 548.1 kg/ha and 144 kg/ha respectively. There was a significant correlation of (0.9) between oil yield (kg/ha), number of fruits produced, and seed yield (kg/ha), an indication that increasing the seed yield will positively increase the amount of oil produced. This study revealed the potential bioenergy production of the four cultivars. However, SC1-Sesoswane appears a more promising alternative cultivar for feedstock for biodiesel production.

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