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Yasuyoshi Hayata, Xin-Xian Li, and Yutaka Osajima

To clarify the cause of low sucrose accumulation in seedless `Crest Earl's' netted muskmelon [Cucumis melo L. (Reticulatus Group)] fruit induced by CPPU, the activity level of sucrose metabolizing enzymes was compared between seeded and seedless fruit. CPPU promoted growth of the ovary in both pollinated and nonpollinated flowers until 10 days after anthesis (DAA), and thereafter the growth rate of nonpollinated fruit was lower than in the controls. Sucrose accumulation of seedless fruit remained lower than in seeded fruit, but there was no difference in fructose and glucose content between seeded and seedless fruit. Acid invertase activity declined sharply 20 DAA in seeded and seedless fruit, and was hardly detectable at 35 DAA, when sucrose accumulation began. Neutral invertase (NI) activity in both seeded and seedless fruit decreased from 20 DAA until 35 DAA; thereafter, NI activity in seeded fruit remained relatively constant, with a small but insignificant increase in maturity. Sucrose synthase (SS-c: sucrose cleavage direction) activity in seeded fruit decreased from 20 to 30 DAA, and then increased as fruit matured, while SS-c activity in seedless fruit did not change during development. Sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) activity in seeded fruit increased from 25 to 30 DAA and remained relatively constant until harvest. SPS activity in seedless fruit declined gradually from 30 to 45 DAA, then remained at a low level. Sucrose synthase (SS-s: sucrose synthesis direction) activity in seeded fruit increased rapidly after 30 DAA, concomitant with sucrose accumulation. In contrast, SS-s activity in seedless fruit increased only slightly after 30 DAA indicating levels of SS-s activity are closely related to sucrose accumulation in parthenocarpic seedless muskmelons. Chemical name used: [1-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-3-phenylurea] (CPPU).

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Gerald E. Wilcox, Paul R. Adler, and Mohamad Errebhi

A study was made to investigate the effects of liming and N source fertilization on soil acidity, nutrient uptake an yield of muskmelon on a Princeton loamy-sand (fine sandy, mixed, mesic, type Hapludalf) at Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center, Vincennes, IN. The experiment consisted of lime and no lime treatments with five N treatments of 0 N, 50 kg·ha-1 N as urea and 100 kg·ha-1 N as urea, NH4NO3, and (NH4) SO4. The unlimed soil tested pH 4.6, 4.2 and 4.1 and the limed soil was pH 5.5, 5.6 and 5.2 with 100 kg N·ha-1 as urea, NH4NO3 and (NH4) SO4, respectively. With NH4NO3 the NO3-N declined from 268 ppm on 6/1 to 64 ppm on 7/7 in the saturation extract (SE). Highest NH4-N was from (NH4)2SO4 followed by NH3NO4 and urea. The NH4-N concentration from (NH4)2SO4 in the SE decreased from 152 ppm to 19 ppm during the season on unlimited soil and from 56 ppm to 8 in the SE decreased from 152 ppm on limed soil. Symptoms of Mn toxicity in the leaves became apparent on unlimed plots 7 weeks after transplanting. As the rate of N increased in the range of 0, 50 and 100 kg·ha-1 from urea the Mn contents were 372,459 and 607 ppm respectively. The muskmelon fruit yield increase due to 100 kg N·ha-1 was 13279 kg·ha-1, 12161 kg·ha-1 and 8502 kg·ha-1 for ureas, NH4NO3 and (NH4)2SO4 respectively.

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Javier Farias-Larios, Mario Orozco-Santos, and Salvador Guzman-Gonzalez

Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) is the major cucurbit crop in the Colima state, Mexico. The use transparent plastic mulch continues to increase in that region for high production technology systems of muskmelon, and more recently floating rowcovers were introduced to protect cucurbits from insects (direct pests or vector of viruses) and to increase yield of cucurbit crops. During 1993, yield was evaluated of three cultivars of muskmelon (`Crushier', `Laguna', and `Durango') growing on transparent polyethylene mulch alone or with floating rowcover. The cultivar Crushier showed the higher yield 40 ton/ha (77% for export market), followed by `Durango' with 28.5 ton (77% for export quality) and `Laguna' with about 23 ton (only 40% of export fruit). There was no significant difference in yield between cultivar growth on transparent mulch plots alone and combined with floating rowcover. Also, floating rowcover excluded (until perfect flowering) beetles leafminers, sweetpotato whitefly, and aphids, reducing the use of insecticide by 50%.

Open access

Sat Pal Sharma, Daniel I. Leskovar, Kevin M. Crosby, and A.M.H. Ibrahim

Muskmelon exhibits a wide variability for vegetative traits, fruit morphology, sweetness, and climatic adaptations for yield and fruit quality ( Li et al., 2006 ). Previous reports have attributed the lack of widely adapted cultivars of muskmelon to

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Dongsheng Zhang, James R. Brandle, Kenneth G. Hubbard, Laurie Hodges, and Entin Daningsih

The relationships between shelterbelt (tree windbreak)-induced microclimate and muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) growth and development were investigated at the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Nebr., during the 1992 and 1993 growing seasons. Wind speed, wind direction, air and soil temperatures, relative humidity, and soil moisture were monitored in both sheltered and nonsheltered areas. Plant growth parameters (plant height, vine length, plant dry weight, and leaf area) were measured at various stages of development. Shelterbelts provided improved growing conditions for muskmelon transplants. Direct wind damage and duration of higher wind speeds were reduced 47% to 56% in sheltered areas. Air temperatures in sheltered areas were slightly higher during daytime and slightly lower at night, and significantly so early in the growing season. Relative humidity was increased significantly in sheltered areas in 1992 and, while higher in 1993, the difference was nonsignificant. Soil moisture content was not affected significantly by wind protection. Sheltered plants exhibited earlier development and faster growth. The first female flower appeared 2 days earlier in sheltered areas in both years. The first fruit set, as indicated by fruit swelling and retention on the vine, occurred 6 days earlier and matured 5 and 6 days earlier in sheltered areas in 1992 and 1993, respectively. Leaf areas and dry-matter accumulation of sheltered plants were greater than those of exposed plants. The shoot relative growth rate of sheltered plants increased earlier in the growing season, but decreased slightly later in the growing season. The earlier development and faster growth of sheltered plants were related mainly to the reduction of wind speed, higher total accumulated air temperatures during the daylight hours (sum of daily average daytime air temperatures based on hourly averages), and higher soil temperature in sheltered areas. Total yields were not affected significantly in either year; however, early yields were significantly greater in sheltered areas in 1993. If earlier maturity and increased yield are possible in large sheltered fields, this practice would provide an economic benefit to producers.

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J.R. Dunlap, S.J. Maas, J.F. Gomez, and R. LaGrange

Two muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivars, Mission and Laguna, were direct-seeded in spring plantings separated by 30 days at the TAES farm in Weslaco. Females were tagged each morning for 8 consecutive days beginning on the first day of flowering and evaluated for fruit set 15 to 20 days later. Mean numbers of flowers and fruits produced on individual plants were compared across cultivars and planting dates. The flowering patterns appear to be bimodal with the majority of blooms occurring during the first 5 days followed by a sharp decline on day 6 and gradual increase, thereafter. The majority of the fruit is set during the first 5 days of flowering and failed to increase with the subsequent rise in flowering. Mission produced approximately 30% more female flowers per plant than Laguna; however, fruit numbers were the same for both cultivars. The environmental conditions associated with earlier plantings suppressed flowering in Laguna but had no effect on the daily rate of fruit-set. Fertilization and fruit set appear to be relatively unaffected by the population dynamics of female flowering.

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Gregory E. Welbaum

Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) seed crops sometimes contain seeds with split coats that expand to twice their normal water content. These expanded seeds are often referred to as “fishmouth” seeds, because the split seed coat resembles an open fish's mouth when viewed longitudinally. “Fishmouth” seeds are dead seeds. However, little is known about why death occurs inside the fruit before harvest. Hermaphroditic flowers were tagged at anthesis and fruits were harvested at various intervals during the later stages of development and decay. Seeds were removed from the fruits and incubated in water on germination blotter paper for 14 days. The percentage of germinable, dead and “fishmouth” seeds were averaged for each Harvest date. Fruit pericarp samples were analyzed for pH, ethanol, and acetic acid content. At 50 days after anthesis (DAA), just past edible maturity, 100% of the seeds germinated. However, at 60 and 78 DAA germination dropped to 60 and 17%, respectively, while the occurrence of “fishmouth” seeds increased from 2 to 54% over the same period. The ethanol content of the tissue increased from 0.11 to 0.28%, the pH dropped from 6.2 to 5.1, and acetic acid concentration increased from 3.0 to 3.7 mM from 50 to 60 DAA, respectively. However, when dried seeds were incubated in the laboratory under conditions similar to those within the fruit, the formation of “fishmouth” seeds was related to the ageing effects of long term hydration and was not correlated with any chemical product within the fruit.

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Jim Menzies, Pat Bowen, David Ehret, and Anthony D.M. Glass

The effect of soluble potassium silicate applied to cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), muskmelon (C. melo L.), and zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) on the severity of powdery mildew was examined. Application methods included amending nutrient solutions to a concentration of 1.7 mm Si and foliar sprays containing 1.7, 8.5, 17, and 34 mm Si. Untreated plants and plants sprayed with distilled water were used as controls. The leaves of all plants were inoculated with known concentrations of conidia of Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlecht.:Fr.) Poll. (cucumber and mu&melon) or Erysiphe cichoracearum DC.: Merat (zucchini squash) 1 day after the sprays were applied. Inoculated leaves on plants receiving the Si-amended nutrient solution or foliar sprays of ≥ 17.0 mm Si developed fewer powdery mildew colonies than those on control plants. Results of a separate experiment that included a potassium spray, indicated that the active ingredient of the potassium silicate sprays appears to be Si. Experiments to test the persistence of Si foliar sprays on cucumber demonstrated that a 17 mm Si spray applied 7 days before inoculation with S. fuliginea reduced mildew colony formation.

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Albert N. Kishaba, Steven J. Castle, Donald L. Coudriet, James D. McCreight, and G. Weston Bohn

The spread of watermelon mosaic virus by the melon aphid (Aphis gossypii Glover) was 31%, 74%, and 71% less to a melon aphid-resistant muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) breeding line than to the susceptible recurrent parent in a field cage study. Aphid-resistant and susceptible plants served equally well as the virus source. The highest rate of infection (97.9%) was noted when target plants were all melon-aphid susceptible, least (26.7%) when the target plants were all melon-aphid resistant, and intermediate (69.4%) when the target plants were an equal mix of aphid-resistant and susceptible plants. The number of viruliferous aphids per plant required to cause a 50% infection varied from five to 20 on susceptible controls and from 60 to possibly more than 400 on a range of melon aphid-resistant populations. An F family from a cross of the melon aphid-resistant AR Topmark (AR TM) with the susceptible `PMR 45' had significantly less resistance to virus transmission than AR TM. Breeding line AR 5 (an aphid-resistant population with `PMR 5' as the recurrent parent) had significantly greater resistance to transmission than other aphid-resistant populations.

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W.D. Scott and E.T. Maynard

Muskmelons (Cucumis melo L. cv. Superstar) were grown at two between-row spacings (1.5 m or 2.1 m) and four in-row spacings (0.6, 0.9, 1.2, or 1.5 m), corresponding to populations from 3074 to 10763 plants ha-1, to determine the influence of row spacing and population on melon growth and yield. The study was conducted at two sites in 1993, one in northern and one in southern Indiana. Numbers of flowers and early season vine growth were not significantly different between treatments. In southern Indiana, the number of fruit harvested per plot increased as in-row spacing decreased; means ranged from 5.2 fruit plot-1 for 0.6 m in-row spacing, to 4.7 fruit for 0.9 m in-row spacing, 3.9 fruit for 1.2 m in-row spacing, and 3.3 fruit for 1.5 m in-row spacing. Harvests were significantly earlier for the 0.6 m in-row spacing. Mean melon weight was significantly greater for 1.5 m in-row spacing, averaging 4.1 kg, compared to 3.8, 3.7, and 3.7 kg for 0.6, 0.9, and 1.2 m in-row spacings, respectively. Between-row spacing did not affect number or weight of melons. There were no significant interactions between in-row and between-row spacings.