Nondestructive Acoustic Firmness Tester Detects the Effect of Manure on Muskmelon Texture

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  • 1 Radiation & Information Technology Laboratory, National Food Research Institute, Kannondai 2-1-12, Tsukuba Science City, Ibaraki Prefecture 305-8642, Japan
  • 2 Department of Global Agricultural Sciences, Graduate School of Agricultural & Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan

The effect of amount of manure (animal dung) on the texture of muskmelons (Cucumis melo L.) has been studied. Melons were grown in a greenhouse with 20 and 50 t·ha-1 of manure. Melons were harvested four times at 4-day intervals and kept at ambient conditions for about 8-12 days. Texture was determined by using “Firm Tester” that employs acoustic technology and to provide a firmness index expressed as transmission velocity [meters per second (m/s)]. At the time of the first, second, third and fourth harvest the fruit grown with 20 t·ha-1 manure gave mean transmission velocities of 54.5 ± 2.5, 55.2 ± 5.7, 49.6 ± 4.8, and 46.8 ± 9.4 m/s, respectively. Linear regression equations for fruit grown with 20 t·ha-1 manure showed that the fruit from the first harvest took 10 days to reach 40 m/s, while fruit from the second, third and fourth harvest took 11, 9.5, and 4 days, respectively, to reach this index. The corresponding values for fruit grown in 50 t·ha-1 of manure were 7.5, 10, 5.5 and 4.5 days, those from the second harvest gave the best keeping quality. The firmness index of melon grown in 20 t·ha-1 of manure was greater than that grown in 50 t·ha-1 manure. Higher soil NO3-N contents were associated with softer melons. The correlation between panelist scores for texture and the firmness index was 0.907. Both °Brix and panelist scores for sweetness indicated that manure did not affect the sweetness of melon. The digital firmness tester could detect the effect of manure on the texture of the melons, and could be used to determine the appropriate time of harvest for each and every individual melon.

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