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- Author or Editor: Sentaro Tomiyama x
We investigated sugar (solute) accumulation in watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. et Nakai] fruits at the immature stage. Watermelon plants were grown hydroponically in a nutrient solution with an electric conductivity (EC) of 1.2 S⋅m−1 (EC 1.2 regime); then, fruits were harvested 21 days after anthesis. The flesh of each fruit was divided into seven different parts to measure the sugar concentration and water status. The results indicated that the sugar concentration was higher in the center of the fruit flesh than in the other parts, such as around the pericarp. Moreover, the lowest osmotic potential was observed in the center of the fruit flesh, indicating solute accumulation. Concurrently, when the transport of photosynthates in the fruit was investigated using the 13CO2 isotope, the active solute accumulation in the center of the fruit flesh was observed, supporting the observed sugar accumulation in this part. Consequently, this active solute accumulation and distribution occurred in the center of the watermelon fruit, as demonstrated by the data of osmotic pressure and sugar concentration and supported by the observed active photosynthate accumulation. Additionally, we investigated these measurements by increasing the nutrient solution concentration 14 days after anthesis. As a result, fruit growth was slightly inhibited using the EC 3.0 regime, and 13C translocation was also inhibited in the fruit, especially in its center. Even though the sugar concentration and osmotic pressure of the fruit flesh were not clearly affected by high nutrient solution concentrations, the cell turgor of the central flesh of the fruit grown using the EC 2.0 and 3.0 regimes was lower than that of the fruit grown using the EC 1.2 regime. Treatments with higher nutrient concentrations might have negative effects on immature watermelon fruits.