The objective of the paper was to determine the content of vitamin C, ß-carotene, and total carotenoids in the winter squash fruits, and to analyze changes in the contents of these compounds in the fruits investigated during their storage. The experimental material were 3 new hybrids (678, 679, 680) of winter squash, one variety registered in 1974 (Bambino), and one new variety registered at the beginning of 2005 (Karowita). The investigations were performed during the following periods after the fruit harvest performed: period I – directly after the harvest; period II – 4 weeks after the harvest; period III – 8 weeks after the harvest; period IV – 12 weeks after the harvest; and period V – 16 weeks after the harvest. The pumpkins under analysis were, at first, stored in a folic tunnel, and, next, in a cold storage room. The storage temperature was about 8°C to 10°C, and the humidity in the storage room: 75%. The content of vitamin C in the variations of pumpkins investigated directly after the harvest amounted from 22,0 to 31,0 mg/100 g of fresh mass. During the storage, this content gradually decreased, and, after the 3 months of storage, it was lower by 17–32%. In the pumpkins stored longer (pumpkin variety 679), the content of vitamin C decreased even by 43%. The content of total carotenoids in the pumpkins analysed during the first period amounted from 3,7 to 8,7 mg/100 g of fresh mass. For the majority of varieties, the content of total carotenoids increased during the entire storage period. The variety Bambino was the only exception since it showed the highest amount of carotenoids after the 8 weeks of storage. The content of ß-carotene changed during the storage of pumpkins. Initially, it was from 3,3 to 7,6 mg/100 g of fresh mass. The highest content of ß-carotene in the variety 678 and Karowita occurred after the 8 weeks of storage, whereas in the varieties 679, 680, as well as in Bambino – after the 12 weeks of storage.
winter squash, storage, vitamin C, carotenoids, ß-carotene