Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EVALUATION AND MAINTENANCE OF FLAVOR, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER QUALITY ATTRIBUTES OF FRESH AND FRESH-CUT PRODUCE

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

Title: Pre-harvest muskmelon fruit cracking: causes and potential remedies

Authors
item Fernández Trujillo, Juan -
item Lester, Gene
item Dos-Santos, Noelia -
item Martínez, Juan -
item Esteva, Juan -
item Jifon, John -
item Varó, Plácido -

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2013
Publication Date: June 28, 2013
Citation: Fernández Trujillo, J.P., Lester, G.E., Dos-Santos, N., Martínez, J.A., Esteva, J., Jifon, J.L., Varó, P. 2013. Pre-harvest muskmelon fruit cracking: causes and potential remedies. HortTechnology. 23:266-275.

Interpretive Summary: Consumption of netted muskmelons, the netting of which can become contaminated with enteric bacteria, has been linked to human illness and deaths for years. The US muskmelon industry is moving away from growing netted muskmelons to non-netted, thinner rind, higher quality melon types. However, the thinner-rind melon fruit are highly prone to cracking prior to harvest which is becoming a serious problem and is causing a major loss of marketable yield and revenue in the muskmelon fruit industry. Studies indicate that this disorder is controlled by both genetic (heritable), as well as a genotype x environment components. Certain varieties are more susceptible than others and controlling wide fluctuations in irrigation, temperature, and nutrition during late fruit maturation stages manages fruit cracking. Melon growers, extension specialists, and melon breeders will benefit from these findings.

Technical Abstract: Fruit cracking is a serious disorder that causes a major loss of marketable yield and revenue in the muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) fruit industry. The physiological and environmental factors causing cracking are poorly understood. Although generally considered a physiological disorder caused by fluctuating environmental conditions, current evidence indicates that this disorder also has genetic, as well as a genotype x environment components. Certain varieties are more susceptible than others but wide fluctuations in irrigation, temperature, and nutrition during late fruit maturation stages appear to predispose fruits to cracking. This paper summarizes the current state of our understanding of the causes of fruit splitting in muskmelons.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page