Sugar accumulation is a very important physiological process that determines dessert-melon fruit quality. Considerable variation in the sugar content and composition in the mature flesh of Cucumis melo L. fruits was observed among 56 genotypes which represent the wide range of morphological and horticultural types found in this species. Sucrose accumulation was observed not only among 'dessert melons' of the inodorus and cantalupensis types, but also in representatives of other subgroups of C. melo, including some of the accessions from agrestis and conomon groups. Among the genotypes that accumulate sucrose, the levels of this sugar, and not of the hexoses, were correlated with the total sugar concentration. Hexose levels were correlated with total sugar levels only among low-sugar genotypes that did not accumulate sucrose. Activities of the sucrose hydrolyzing enzymes acid invertase (EC 184.108.40.206) and alkaline invertase (EC 220.127.116.11) were measured in the mature fruit flesh and the results of this survey support the hypothesis that low acid invertase activity is a prerequisite for sucrose accumulation. The sucrose accumulating, high sugar genotypes had less-acidic flesh pH values (pH> 6) than the low-sugar genotypes. The latter were characterized by a broader range of pH values, including acidic (pH < 5.5) fruit flesh.
- Cucumis melo
- Germplasm survey