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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Aroma Volatile Differences in Commercial Orange-Fleshed Cantaloupes, the Inbred Parental Lines, and Stored Fresh-Cuts.

Authors
item Beaulieu, John
item Lea, Jeanne

Submitted to: Horticultural International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 2, 2002
Publication Date: September 1, 2003
Citation: Beaulieu, J.C., Lea, J.M. 2003. Aroma volatile differences in commercial orange-fleshed cantaloupes, the inbred parental lines, and stored fresh-cuts. Horticultural International Congress Proceedings. 628:809-815

Interpretive Summary: Major differences exist in muskmelons regarding flavor and fresh-cut processing quality. Melons and fresh-cut melons are rapidly gaining a large share of the produce market and therefore a substantial monetary incentive exists to improve their qualities. We are attempting to find volatile compounds that breeders can use as indicators of melon and fresh-cut melon quality. Analysis of commercially available varieties may indicate hereditary linkages and help pinpoint desirable flavor attributes. Cantaloupes, along with their male and female breeding lines, were grown then analyzed for flavor volatiles. Commercial and male lines often had substantially higher ester and sulfur compounds, whereas females generally had higher acetate and aldehyde compounds. Results indicate that distribution of key desirable volatile compounds may be related to male versus female inheritance. More commercial varieties and parental breeding lines need to be investigated to verify for breeders if these relationships are authentic. This research may generate information to enable breeders to enhance desirable traits in cantaloupes, while minimizing traits that negatively affect melon quality. There could be significant economic benefits if varieties tailored for the fresh-cut melon market are substantially improved.

Technical Abstract: Substantial differences exist in muskmelons regarding flavor and fresh-cut processing quality. We are attempting to discriminate volatile compounds that can be used as reliable breeding indicators for melon quality. Analysis of commercially available varieties, and their male and female inbred breeding lines may indicate hereditary linkages and help pinpoint desirable flavor attributes. Cantaloupes were grown commercially on raised beds with standard cultural practices and furrow irrigation. 'Athena' and 'Sol Real' fruit and both homozygous parental male and female breeding lines were harvested (3/4-slip) in early summer or fall and analyzed for volatiles. Cubes from numerous fruits per variety were randomized and roughly 300 g was placed into 24-ounce clamshell containers that were stored at 4°C. Volatiles were determined in rapidly homogenized juice via solid phase microextraction (SPME) by GC-MS. Commercial and male lines often had substantially higher esters (R-acid-C=O-O-R-alcohol) and S-compounds, whereas females generally had higher acetate esters (CH3-C=O-O-R-alcohol) and aldehydes. Cantaloupes harvested in fall generally have inferior quality compared to the summer season, and inconsistencies in fall volatile trends were also apparent. Results indicate that distribution of key desirable volatile compounds may be related to male versus female inheritance. More commercial varieties and parental breeding lines need to be investigated and statistically analyzed to ascertain if these relationships are authentic.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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