Submitted to: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 23, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Hybrid honey dew melon cultivars production, within the last 10 years, comprises 80% of the honeydews grown in Texas and 100% of the cultivars grown in Mexico and Central America. Even though Open Pollinated cultivars were produced prior to hybrids becoming the predominant cultivar grown, no description of the growth, maturation, ripening, and senescence of honey dew fruits exists. This study delineates harvest maturity occurring at 40 days after pollination (DAP), as evidenced by decreasing firmness, moisture and fructose and glucose content, maximized fruit weight and volume, and increasing sucrose content. Ripening occurred at 50 DAP with fruit abscission. Fruit senescence begins with a decline in all quality attributes: firmness, weight, moisture content, sugars, protein and membrane structure, and an increase in a senescence related enzyme lipoxygenase (new information). This profile of hybrid honeydew fruit growth maturation, ripening and senescence should be useful to optimize timing of commercial harvest of mature fruits, which is necessary for maximum nutritional quality, extending shelf-life, and enhancing consumer satisfaction.
Technical Abstract: Hybrid, nonnetted, green-flesh honey dew muskmelon 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 and sucrose content, moisture content, firmness, weight, 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, and by the largest increase in the total free sterol: total phospholipid 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 optimize timing of commercial harvest of mature fruits, which is necessary for maximizing honey dew fruit quality, extending shelf-life, and enhancing consumer satisfaction.