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Physiological changes during development and ripening of cultivar perlita muskmelon cucumis melo fruits

Physiological changes during development and ripening of cultivar perlita muskmelon cucumis melo fruits

Scientia Horticulturae 26(4): 323-332

'Perlita' muskmelon fruit (Cucumis melo L.) grown under both field and greenhouse conditons were sampled at 10-day intervals for 50 days after pollination to determine changes in pH, soluble sugars, total protein, .beta.-carotene, tissue firmness, cell wall composition, cell wall degrading enzymes, total calcium and bound calcium. The sucrose contents of fruits increased substantially after 40 days post-anthesis, which compensated for the significant decreases in glucose and fructose content. Acidity and total protein remained relatively unchanged throughout the sampling period. .beta.-carotene increased from 0.3% (w/w) at 10 days post-pollination to 2.7% (w/w) in 50-day old melons. Tissue firmness measured by shear force decreased by 400% between 30 and 50 days post-anthesis. No significant changes in cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin content of the cell wall were detected. Cx-cellulase and pectinmethylesterase activity were detected but remained constant or declined during ripening; polygalacturonase activity was not detected. The major compositional changes in developing and ripening fruit were sucrose, glucose, fructose and .beta.-carotene. In spite of dramatic decreases in tissue firmness, concomitant changes in crude cell wall fractions and associated cell wall degrading enzyme were not detected.

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