Hybrid honey dew muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. var. inodorus Naud.) fruit physiological maturity, the period of maximized or greatest compositional changes, occurs by 40 days after anthesis (DAA). Fruit maturity was determined by major changes in quality attributes: glucose, fructose, sucrose, and moisture content, firmness, mass, volume, and hypodermal-mesocarp plasma membrane specific H+-ATPase (E.C. 18.104.22.168) activity. Fruit ripening occurs by 50 DAA, as determined by additional changes in the mentioned quality attributes, and by fruit abscission at 50 DAA. Fruit senescence begins with decreases in almost all quality attributes, H+-ATPase activity, protein content, by the largest increase in the total free sterol : total phospholipid (FS:PL) ratio, and in hypodermal-mesocarp lipoxygenase (E.C. 22.214.171.124) activity. Physicochemical profiles of hybrid honey dew muskmelon fruit during growth and maturation should be useful to schedule commercial harvest of mature fruit, which is necessary for maximum honey dew fruit quality, extended shelf-life, and enhanced consumer satisfaction.
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