Orange-Fleshed Honeydews Evaluated
Flores November 29, 2007
A team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists has evaluated the merits of
melons that combine the best attributes of cantaloupes and honeydew melons.
The team has been searching for new ways to solve organic and
conventional melon growers' number one concern: food safety, according to plant
Lester, in the
Crop Quality and Fruit Insects Research Unit in Weslaco, Texas.
Cantaloupes, also known as muskmelons, have sometimes tested positive
for Salmonella lignieres and Escherichia coli O157:H7. That's
because potentially harmful microbes can readily lodge in the fruit's rough,
netted skin and defy sanitation measures.
When netted melons are cut, any harmful microbeshiding in
crevices on the exterior surface and covered by naturally-forming biofilms that
protect them from sanitizerscan be transferred to the inner flesh.
The team compared "netted" cantaloupesthe type bearing
orange-fleshed fruit with deep-green rind and netlike outer markingswith
a phytonutrient-dense, but nonnetted, melon genotype. They found that the
smooth-skinned melons are less likely to harbor bacteria.
The smooth-skinned, orange-fleshed melons are also being evaluated for
their flavor. One such melon, Orange Dew, is being grown organically in limited
quantities in the United States. It has beaten the netted Cruiser cantaloupe in
a taste test. That's because Orange Dew has a Brix scorea measurement of
sweetnessof 11 to 14, compared to 9 for most cantaloupes. Sweetness has
been shown to be the most important taste factor in repeat purchase of melons.
The orange-fleshed honeydews store well, toofor around three
weeks, compared to 10 to 14 days for a typical netted cantaloupe kept in
simulated commercial retail storage conditions.
more about the research in the November/December 2007 issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.