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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307062

Research Project: Genetic Enhancement of Lettuce, Spinach, Melon, and Related Species

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Title: Snapmelon (Cucumis melo L. subsp. agrestis var. momordica), indigenous cucurbitaceous vegetable species from India with immense breeding value: a review

Author
item DHILLON, NARINDER - The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) - Taiwan
item SINGH, HIRA - Punjab Agricultural University
item PITRAT, MICHEL - Institut National De La Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
item MONFORTE, ANTONIO - Polytechnic University Of Valencia (UPV)
item McCreight, James - Jim

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2014
Publication Date: 6/1/2015
Citation: Dhillon, N.P., Singh, H., Pitrat, M., Monforte, A.J., McCreight, J.D. 2015. Snapmelon (Cucumis melo L. subsp. agrestis var. momordica), indigenous cucurbitaceous vegetable species from India with immense breeding value: a review. Acta Horticulturae. 1102:99–108. doi: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1102.12.

Interpretive Summary: Snapmelon is a non-sweet, vegetable type melons native to India, where it is widely cultivated and commonly known as ‘phut,’ which means to split, as the fruit split or crack open at maturity. They are related to muskmelon and honeydew melons. Immature snapmelon fruits are cooked or eaten raw. In this paper we review the wealth of genetic resources in Indian snapmelon landraces for resistances to diseases, nematodes and insects, and tolerances to drought, soil salinity, and high temperature. Global melon breeding programs have transferred many of these traits from snapmelon to open-pollinated and hybrid varieties of sweet melon grown in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. Snapmelons are also sources of high fruit acidity, a trait that has been utilized to breed uniquely flavored melon cultivars. Snapmelon germplasm could be eroded or lost completely as uniform, commercial open-pollinated and F1 hybrid cultivars.

Technical Abstract: Snapmelon (Cucumis melo L. Momordica Group; 2n = 2x = 24) is native to India, where it is widely cultivated and is commonly called ‘phut,’ which means to split. Immature fruits are cooked or eaten raw. In this paper we review the wealth of genetic resources in Indian snapmelon landraces for resistance to fungal and viral diseases, nematodes, and insects, and tolerance to drought, soil salinity, and high temperature. Global melon breeding programs have transferred many of these qualities into open-pollinated and hybrid varieties of sweet melon cultivated in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. Snapmelons are sources of high fruit acidity, a trait that has been utilized to breed uniquely flavored melon cultivars. High frequencies of unique alleles have been identified in snapmelon collections from various parts of India. Snapmelon can serve as a source of new resistance genes to combat pathogens and pests, and to strengthen crop resilience against climate change. More effort is needed to collect, characterize, evaluate and preserve snapmelon diversity in genebanks.