Fruit growth and development of muskmelon cv. Topscore (Cucumis melo var. Reticulatus Naud.)

María Luisa Tapia F.1, Ximena I. López C., Ljubica Galletti G., y Horst Berger S

The fruit growth and development pattern of muskmelon (Cucumis mela var. Reticulatus Naud) cv. Topscore were studied. Flowers at anthesis stage were identified. Fruits samples were collected weekly from seven days after anthesis stage until full slip. The parameters evaluated were: polar diameter, equatorial diameter, fresh weight, ground color, netting color, flesh color, hairiness, sutures, abscission layer evolution, flesh thickness, internal cavity diameter, soluble solids concentration, flesh firmness and respiration. Once transcurred 35 days after anthesis, when the fruits were still immature, the development of the abscission layer started, accompanied by color changes. The fruits reached their final size and fresh weight at this stage, however soluble solids values were below the minimal quality threshold, which was reached about 40 days after anthesis. Between 39 and 42 days after anthesis the fruits reached the half slip stage and yellow ground color. Furthermore, the maximum values for soluble solids concentration and flesh thickness were achieved during this stage. During the last 7 days, changes associated with a decline in quality were observed, such as a reduction offresh weight, size, flesh thickness, firmness and soluble solids concentration. Therefore, the long term storage period or long distance transportation ofmuskmelon is not feasible. Data obtained and Pearson correlation analysis carried out among the variables, identified those allowing to determine the optimum harvesting stage.

Keywords: Muskmelon, growth, development, ripening.
1 Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias y Forestales, Casilla 1004, Santiago, Chile.