Fruit quality and aroma characteristics of a specialty red-fleshed melon (Cucumis melo L.), ‘Red Moon’

Jeanmarie M. Mitchell, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Harry J. Klee, Steven A. Sargent, Peter J. Stoffella, Denise Tieman

Abstract


‘Red Moon’ is a red-fleshed melon (Cucumis melo L.) that is sold as a high quality fruit trademarked “Perfect Melon.” The purpose of this research was to determine whether ‘Red Moon’ fruit quality factors, including aroma volatiles would be altered by harvesting at different stages of fruit development (no-slip (NS), abscission layer development at stem (AL), full-slip (FS)) or by fruit storage (0, 5, or 10 days). The melons were grown in a passively-ventilated high-roof greenhouse in Florida. Data were recorded for days to harvest, fruit size, quality variables (soluble solids content, titratable acidity, pH, firmness), ethylene and respiration rates, and aroma volatiles. On S-0 (S-0), stage NS was firmest (46 N). All other fruit quality variables, ethylene and respiration rates were similar for all stages. After 5 days storage (S-5), overall firmness was decreased from S-0, however stage NS was firmest (17 N). Soluble solids content (SSC) was higher at S-5 than S-0 for stages AL and FS. There were no differences among fruit maturity stages in other quality variables, ethylene or respiration rates at S-5. Following 10 days storage (S-10), all fruit quality variables were reduced compared to S-0 and S-5 treatments, regardless of fruit maturity. There were 15 volatile compounds found to be significant contributors to the aroma of ‘Red Moon’ at all stages. Volatiles were greatest at S-0 for fruit maturity stages AL and FS. Following S-5 and S-10, total identified volatiles were similar regardless of maturity stage. Overall, volatiles decreased over storage time from 0 to 10 days. ‘Red Moon’ melons had SSC of 11 °Brix regardless of stage of maturity harvested or duration of storage. The high SSC most likely attributes to their high quality status. To ensure highest fruit quality, it is recommended that ‘Red Moon’ melons be harvested at stages NS or AL for best firmness and quality.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283