Changes in morphology of epidermal layers and in permeability of mesocarp membranes of ‘Honey Dew’ and netted muskmelon fruits (Cucumis melo L., var. inodorus and reticulatus, respectively) were compared for 10 through 60 days after anthesis to relate tissue changes to storage life. Twenty-day-old netted muskmelon fruit developed lenticular tissue (net) over the entire melon surface. The muskmelon net had become fissured by 50 days after anthesis (10 days postharvest). ‘Honey Dew’ fruit did not develop lenticular tissue nor did the epidermis become fissured. ‘Honey Dew’ and netted muskmelon fruits had similar membrane electrolyte leakage characteristics (60% ± 3%) when harvested ripe, but, after 10 days at 20°C, electrolyte leakage was 70% and 87%, respectively. Membrane electrolyte leakage for both cultivars had a high regression coefficient (R2 = 0.97) with fruit maturation and postharvest senescence. An intact epidermis indirectly affected mesocarp membrane permeability and perhaps contributed to differences in muskmelon cultivar storage life.
Received for publication 19 Dec. 1986. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.