Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 8, 2006
Publication Date: November 2, 2006
Citation: Saftner, R.A., Abbott, J.A., Lester, G.E., Vinyard, B.T. 2006. Sensory and analytical comparisons of orange-fleshed honeydew to cantaloupe and green-fleshed honeydew for fresh-cut chunks. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 42:150-160. Interpretive Summary: The North American fresh-cut melon industry is a rapidly developing industry with great potential for increased growth. With the heightened consumer interest in new high quality fruit products, opportunities exist for new cultivars with improved flavor, and texture, and stability during transit and marketing. To increase interest even more, especially in fresh-cut melon products, alternatives to cantaloupe for fresh cut processing also would be desirable. We compared the quality, shelf stability, and consumer acceptance of fresh-cut melon chunks processed from cantaloupe and as well as green- and orange-fleshed honeydews. During storage, the quality of fresh-cut melon chunks from all cultivars was well maintained, even though microbial populations increased due to growth of non-pathogenic bacteria on the surface of the melon chunks. Consumers liked the flavor, texture, sweetness, and overall eating quality of orange-fleshed honeydew chunks as well as or better than those of cantaloupe and green-fleshed honeydew. Among orange-fleshed honeydews, ‘Orange Dew’ scored highest in appearance and nutritional value while ‘Temptation’ scored highest in flavor and overall eating quality. This information will contribute to development of orange-fleshed honeydew chunks as a new value-added fresh-cut fruit product for the melon industry and as a convenient fresh fruit product for consumers. Orange-fleshed honeydew will also provide a safer fresh-cut alternative to cantaloupe for fresh cutting since the rind of honeydews lacks the netting and roughness present on cantaloupe rinds that can harbor human pathogens.
Technical Abstract: Maintaining the sensory, microbial and postharvest quality of fresh-cut fruit after processing and throughout distribution and marketing is a major challenge facing the fresh-cut fruit industry. Fresh-cut chunks of orange-fleshed honeydew (‘Honey Gold’, ‘Orange Dew’, ‘Temptation’ and three breeding lines) and green-fleshed honeydew (‘Honey Brew’) and an orange-fleshed cantaloupe (‘Cruiser’) harvested at commercial and full-slip maturities were compared after storage for 0 to 11 days in air at 5 ºC. Fresh-cut cantaloupe had higher respiration and ethylene production rates, aromatic volatile concentrations, and beta-carotene/chroma and orange hue (except ‘Orange Dew’) than those of honeydew whereas honeydew chunks generally had higher soluble solids content (SSC), Kramer firmness and microbial quality than cantaloupe chunks. All genotypes had similar ascorbic acid levels. During storage, analytical quality characteristics of fresh-cut chunks from all genotypes were well maintained even though microbial populations increased especially on cantaloupe chunks. Consumers liked the flavor, texture, sweetness and overall eating quality of the orange-fleshed honeydew genotypes as well as or better than those of cantaloupe and green-fleshed honeydew. ‘Orange Dew’ scored highest in appearance and had the highest beta-carotene concentration, chroma and orange hue among orange-fleshed honeydew genotypes whereas ‘Temptation’ generally scored highest for flavor intensity and acceptability and overall eating quality; and it had the highest aromatic volatile concentrations among the orange-fleshed honeydews. Many individual volatiles were identical in cantaloupe and honeydews; however, honeydew genotypes, particularly ‘Temptation’, were distinctive from cantaloupe and green-fleshed honeydew in having relatively high levels of various nonenyl and nonadienyl acetates having honeydew-like or uncharacterized aromas. Fresh-cut chunks from full-slip melons generally had higher analytical and sensory quality characteristics and lower microbial quality and shelf stability compared to those from commercially mature fruit. The results indicate that orange-fleshed honeydews are a promising new melon type for fresh-cut processing.