Assessing quality and reducing batchvariety in Golden Honeydew Melons : GreenCHAINge Fruit & Vegetables WP2

Brouwer, Bastiaan; Gabriëls, Suzan; Montsma, Matthijs


The general objective in GreenCHAINge Fruit & Vegetables Work package 2 (GreenCHAINge) is to obtain high quality and uniform melons and papaya’s on the shelf. This report focuses on the melons, being one of the exotic products for the breeding company East West Seed and the wholesaler Frankort & Koning. To obtain high quality and uniform melons on the shelf in supermarkets, it is essential to: • Store melons at optimal conditions; • Harvest melons at an optimal maturity stage. Consumers have high demands, and will only re-purchase melons in case appearance, taste and smell are appreciated. Within GreenCHAINge, we developed scales to visually assess melon quality. For the peel we observed three reoccurring peel issues; brown freckles, brown spots and grey areas, for which we generated visual classifications. Besides these subjective visual methods, we also developed methods to objectively assess melon quality using colour imaging. To assess the smell of melons and quantify the production of volatiles, we stored melons in closed drums and measured the headspace using PTR-ToF-MS. Depending on the demand in the market, melons are stored for up till several weeks at the wholesaler before arrival at the supermarket. This storage time is called the buffer period. In this project we investigated the effect of the buffer period and temperature on the quality of melons. Besides storage conditions, also the moment of harvest is thought to affect quality. However, not only the moment of harvest, but also the flowering moment varies. Therefore we investigated the effect of maturity (period from flowering until harvest) on quality of melons after 2-3 weeks of transport oversees and subsequently after a buffer- and shelf life period. The aim of this study is to measure the parameters that contribute to the quality of the melon variety Golden Honeydew. These quality parameters are used to investigate the effect of storage (buffer) conditions and/or maturity on melon quality. We conclude that melon quality decreases during a buffer period. However, when storing at lower temperatures like 4°C, colour increase and volatile production seem just delayed: As soon as conditions become favourable to induce ripening (20-22°C), colour and volatile production increase. However, peel disorders like brown freckles and brown spots increase after a buffer period at 4°C. Therefore, buffering at 7°C might still allow induction of ripening at 20-22°C, while keeping the peel disorders to an (acceptable?) minimum. This document is the result of a study as part of GreenCHAINge. This study was executed from January 2015 until March 2019 by researchers of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR), who performed an objective and independent study for East West Seed and Frankort & Koning, who partly financed this project. This report is confidential until October 2019 and intended only for East West Seed, Frankort & Koning and WFBR. From October 2019 onwards the information is “public”.