Suppression of Ripening and Softening of `Galia' Melons by 1-Methylcyclopropene Applied at Preripe or Ripe Stages of Development

in HortScience
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  • 1 Horticultural Sciences Department, PO Box 110690, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

`Galia' (Cucumis melo var. reticulatus L. Naud. `Galia') melons exhibit relatively short postharvest longevity, limited in large part by the rapid softening of this high quality melon. The present study was performed to characterize the physiological responses of `Galia' fruit harvested at green (preripe) and yellow (advanced ripening) stages and treated with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) before storage at 20 °C. Treatment with 1.5 μL·L-1 1-MCP before storage delayed the climacteric peaks of respiration and ethylene production of green fruit by 11 and 6 d, respectively, and also significantly suppressed respiration and ethylene production maxima. Softening of both green and yellow fruit was significantly delayed by 1-MCP. During the first 5 d at 20 °C, the firmness of green control fruit declined 66% while 1-MCP-treated fruit declined 46%. By day 11, firmness of control and 1-MCP-treated green fruit had declined about 90% and 75%, respectively. The firmness of control yellow fruit stored at 20 °C declined 70% within 5 d while 1-MCP-treated fruit declined 30%. The 1-MCP-induced firmness retention was accompanied by significant suppression of electrolyte leakage of mesocarp tissue, providing evidence that membrane dysfunction might contribute to softening of `Galia' melons. The mesocarp of fruit harvested green and treated with 1-MCP eventually ripened to acceptable quality; however, under the treatment conditions (1.5 μL·L-1 1-MCP, 24 h) used in this study, irreversible suppression of surface color development was noted. The disparity in ripening recovery between mesocarp versus epidermal tissue was considerably less evident for fruit harvested and treated with 1-MCP at an advanced stage of development. The commercial use of 1-MCP with `Galia'-type melons should prove of immense benefit in long-term storage and/or export situations, and allow for retention of quality and handling tolerance for fruit harvested at more advanced stages of ripening.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author and to whom reprint requests should be addressed; e-mail djh@mail.ifas.ufl.edu.
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