Morphological and Physiological Changes during Fruit Growth and Maturation of Seven Melon Cultivars

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

External color, length, diameter, fresh weight, C02 production, internal C2HA concentration, flesh firmness, soluble solids concentration (SSC), flesh color, and seed cavity diameter were measured during fruit growth and maturation of seven melon cultivars (Cucumis melo L., Inodorus Group, Naud. cv. `Amarelo', `Golden Beauty Casaba', `Honey Dew', `Honey Loupe', `Juan Canary', `Paceco', and `Santa Claus Casaba') of known age. There was no increase in C02 production either during ripening (e.g., loss of firmness and increased SSC) or with increasing C2H4 levels in fruit from any of the seven cultivars. There was a significant decline in respiration only at the second sampling date, which ranged from 14 to 18 days after anthesis. Respiration measured 1 week later was substantially higher and was followed by a general decline. This post 14- to 18-day rise in respiration was not a climacteric since it occurred well in advance of other ripening characteristics, e.g., loss of firmness, increase in SSC, or rise in internal C2H4. The increase in internal C2H4. coincided with or followed attainment of full fruit size, while flesh softening and the rapid rise in SSC preceded the rise in internal C2H4, concentration. Respiration declined from 67 to 18 ml CO2/kg per hour by day 43 in all cultivars, except `Honey Dew' and `Honey Loupe'. Respiration in `Honey Loupe' remained above 23 ml CO2/kg per hour and showed a rise to 32 ml/kg per hour on day 53. Respiration in `Honey Dew' did not fall below 18 ml CO2/kg per hour until day 53. As with internal C2H4 levels, there was no correlation between changes in and any marked change in the other signs of ripening that were measured.

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