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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 731: III International Symposium on Cucurbits

MOLECULAR CONTROL OF FRUIT RIPENING AND SENSORY QUALITY OF CHARENTAIS MELON

Authors:   D. Manriquez, F.B. Flores, I. El-Sharkawy, A. Latché, J.C. Pech
Keywords:   quality, shelf life, flavour, aroma biosynthesis, alcohol dehydrogenase, alcohol acyl transferase, ethylene
Abstract:
Traditional Charentais melons have a typical climacteric behavior with ethylene playing a major role in the regulation of the ripening process. Genetic studies using climacteric and non-climacteric types of Cucumis melo demonstrated that the climacteric character is dominant and conferred by 2 duplicated loci only which are of great importance for the regulation of storability and sensory quality. Commercial varieties of Charentais melon with long shelf-life have been generated, some of them by crossing with a non-ripening Charentais genotype (Vauclusien). The introduction of the long shelf-life character resulted in undesirable loss of aroma volatiles production. The inhibition of ethylene synthesis by knocking-down ACC oxidase gene expression has been achieved in Charentais melon. It results is a strong inhibition of the synthesis of aroma volatiles while the accumulation of sugars is not affected or is even improved and the softening of the flesh is strongly affected but not abolished. It was also demonstrated that ethylene-inhibited fruit exhibited better resistance to chilling injury. Due to the importance of aroma volatiles in sensory quality and to the strong negative correlation between aroma production and ethylene synthesis, we have developed a research program aimed at isolating genes involved in the synthesis of volatile esters, compounds that are essential for the flavor of Cantaloupe melons. We report here on the recent advances in the field with special emphasis on the characterization of two families of genes encoding aldehyde reductases and alcohol acyl transferases.
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