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Nerson, H., H.S. Paris, and M. Edelstein. 1990. Melofon: A new crop for concentrated yield of pickles. p. 399-402. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), Advances in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Melofon: A New Crop for Concentrated Yield of Pickles

Haim Nerson, Harry S. Paris, and Menahem Edelstein


  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. SMALL PLOT TRIAL
  3. SEMI-COMMERCIAL PLOT TRIAL
  4. HYBRID TRIAL
  5. CONCLUSIONS
  6. REFERENCES
  7. Table 1
  8. Table 2
  9. Table 3
  10. Table 4
  11. Fig. 1

INTRODUCTION

Although pickling cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is an important crop in the pickling industry, it requires costly labor for hand picking. Despite extensive breeding efforts, there has been only limited success in concentrating yield for once-over mechanical harvest. Pickling melons (Cucumis melo L.), which are very similar to pickling cucumber in taste, flavor and processing suitability (Nakamura and Ishiuchi 1985) have been bred "with birdsnest-type and hermaphroditic muskmelon lines in order to increase yield concentration (Nerson et al. 1986, 1988).

Melofon, the new crop derived from this breeding program is characterized by its' high yield and adaptability to a once-over harvest system. In this study, the yield potential of advanced melofon lines is compared to pickling cucumber cultivars in both small experimental and semi-commercial plots. The fruit yielding ability of 70 experimental melofon hybrids were determined in order to select parental lines with the best general and specific combining ability for concentrated fruit yield and quality.

SMALL PLOT TRIAL

Ten advanced breeding lines of melofon were compared to ten cultivars of pickling cucumber during the spring of 1988 at two locations, Newe Ya'ar (NY) and Bet HaShitta (BH), the western and eastern ends of Yizre'el Valley, Israel respectively. Seeds were sown in mid-April on raised beds 2 m apart. Each bed contained two rows of plants spaced 15 cm apart in the row (66,700 plants/ha). Each entry was replicated in four 2 x 2 m plots in a randomized block design. Each plot was harvested for once-over yield when 10% of the fruits were over-sized (diameter >50 mm). Fruits were graded into four categories: a) <27 mm; b) 27-35 mm (a+b=small fruits); c) 36-50 mm (a+b+c=commercial fruits); and d) >50 mm (=oversized). The fruits of each category were counted and weighted.

Melofon lines produced more fruits per unit area than pickling cucumber cultivars. This difference was highly significant at BH (Table 1) and to a lesser extent at NY (Table 2). Melofon lines had more small fruits as compared to pickling cucumber cultivars and this difference was reflected in small fruit yields. At the BH site, the average small fruit yield in the five best lines was 1.9 fold higher in melofon than in pickling cucumber, whereas the commercial yield was only slightly different. As small pickles have a much higher cash value than larger fruits, this difference between melofon and pickling cucumber is important. It should be noted that the timing of harvest of both crops was based on studies conducted in cucumber (Wehner 1988) and the optimal timing for once-over harvest in melofon must still be determined. Fruit set uniformity expressed as yield concentration (Tables 1 and 2) was higher in melofon than in pickling cucumber. The vegetative growth in melofon plants (more side branches than pickling cucumber plants) was remarkable. Data indicate that a plant density study is necessary to determine optimum plant populations for maximizing performance. However, preliminary observations indicate that plant densities of melofon for optimum once-over harvest yield is lower than in pickling cucumber.

SEMI-COMMERCIAL PLOT TRIAL

Four breeding lines of melofon were compared to one pickling cucumber cultivar ('Passion') and one line (NK 2002) during the spring of 1988 at BH. Sowing procedure was as described above, except that a wider row spacing (25 cm between plants, 40,000 plants/ha) was used. Each entry was seeded in a 100 m2 plot. Harvest of all fruits was conducted 52 and 59 days after seeding and fruits were graded, counted and weighted as described above.

Yield (fruit number and weight) differences between melofons and pickling cucumbers were remarkable in the semi-commercial plots trial (Table 3). The melofon line D17-5-135-1-5 set about 10 fruits/plant simultaneously in both pickings. The fruits of this line are round and therefore another quality grading method must be developed for them. The melofon line P6a-3-133-80-5-1-1 have cylindrical short light green fruits and has potential for high concentrated yield (Table 1, 2, 3). In this trial, it had not been harvested at the optimum time. Harvest dates were selected to meet line D17-5-135-1-5 optima, therefore, the first harvest was early and the second late for line P6a-3-133-80-5-1-1. Line P20a-8-9 segregated for bitterness and is being subjected to further selection.

HYBRID TRIAL

Seventy experimental hybrids of melofon were obtained by reciprocal crossing among 10 advanced breeding line in the fall season of 1986. These hybrids and parental lines were seeded in 3 replicates of 5 x 2 m plots at NY in April 1987. Harvest procedure and yield determination were the same as above. Lines 3, 10, 2, and 9 were the highest yielding among the ten which were used for experimental hybrid production (Table 4). These lines were also among the best in later trials (Table 1-3). Of the best ten hybrid, lines 3, 1 0, and 2 were used as parents in 4 cases and line 9 in 2 cases (Table 4). Overall, line 3 (D17-5-135-1-5) was a source of remarkable fruit-setting capacity. This characteristic in hybrids is generally intermediate between parents but in some cases the hybrids were higher than both parents (Table 4). No relationship exist between fruit number and yield. This may be due to present grading system since it takes into account only the maximal diameter. In this case the cylindrical fruits are heavier than the oval and the oval are heavier than the round. Thus, when comparing the yield potential of lines with different fruit shapes, only the fruit number per unit area is a valid parameter.

CONCLUSIONS

Melofon, a new cucurbit crop for processing, has a more concentrated yield than pickling cucumber, and therefore has potential for mechanical harvesting.

Melofon plants are vegetatively more vigorous than pickling cucumber and therefore must be grown at relatively low plant densities.

Round and oval fruit shape of some melofon lines (Fig. 1) will require new agrotechnic systems including the determination of optimal once-over harvest time and unique grading scales.

Selection within open pollinated and F, melofon germplasm could result in more uniform genotypes and improvement in yield concentration.

REFERENCES


Table 1. Commercial and small fruit yields, yield concentration (% of the fruits in the largest group grade) and vegetative fresh weight in the best melofon and pickling cucumber entries (Bet HaShitta spring 1988).

Commercial yield Small fruit yield
Line/cultivar fruits/m2 g/m2 fruits/m2 g/m2 Yield concentration (%) Vegetative fresh wt (g/plant)
Melofon
D17-2-180-3-2-6 (2) 37.1 1339 30.1 751 42 268
P6a-3-133-80-5-1-1 (9) 36.0 1464 28.4 701 53 281
D17-6-140-1-1-2 (10) 34.0 677 30.6 463 65 279
D17-5-135-1-7 (3-sib) 31.7 1023 17.6 205 35 480
P6a-4-13-5-2-1-1-9 (5) 22.6 1009 17.7 476 45 251
Mean 32.3 1102 24.9 519 48 312
Pickling Cucumber
XPH 1369 (US) 18.7 1207 11.4 327 33 165
Pickmore (US) 17.5 939 10.6 284 35 99
Shahal (Israel) 16.4 980 8.0 251 32 91
Aurora (US) 15.6 1132 7.5 292 28 173
Passion (Holland) 13.9 656 9.5 237 47 119
Mean 16.4 983 9.4 278 35 129
Variance analysis
between speciesz
** NS ** ** * **
zNon significant (NS) or significant at 5% (*) or 1% (**) level of probability.


Table 2. Commercial and small fruit yields, yield concentration (% of the fruits in the largest group grade) and vegetative fresh weight in the best melofon and pickling cucumber entries (Newe Ya'ar spring 1988).

Commercial yield Small fruit yield
Line/cultivar fruits/m2 g/m2 fruits/m2 g/m2 Yield concentration (%) Vegetative fresh wt (g/plant)
Melofon
P6a-3-133-80-5-1-1 (9) 25.7 1420 19.2 431 33 231
D17-6-140-1-1-2 (10) 24.2 697 19.1 321 50 238
D17-2-180-3-2-6 (2) 23.1 1346 12.0 271 44 238
P6a-3-53-91-B-B-2-5 (4) 19.6 1455 10.2 293 46 198
P6a-4-13-5-2-7-2-8 (8) 16A 1370 9.5 196 40 204
Mean 21.8 1258 14.0 302 43 222
Pickling cucumber
Shahal (Israel) 21.9 1044 12.4 338 34 111
Aurora (US) 16.0 1152 8.4 275 34 167
Tomara (Holland) 16.0 1097 4.7 142 50 163
Passion (Holland) 14.7 635 10.1 295 36 132
Pickmore (US) 14.7 888 8.5 255 30 176
Mean 16.7 963 8.8 261 37 150
Variance analysis
between speciesz
* * ** NS * *
Variance analysis
between speciesz * * ** NS * *
zNon significant (NS) or significant at 5% (*) or 1% (**) level of probability.


Table 3. Commercial and small fruit yields of 4 melofon (M) lines and 2 pickling cucumber (C) in 2 pickings (52 and 59 days after planting) of semi-commercial plots (100 m2) (Bet HaShitta, spring 1988).

First harvest yield Second harvest yield
Commercial Small fruits Commercial Small fruits
Line/cultivar (No.) (kg) (No.) (kg) (No.) (kg) (No.) (kg)
D17-5-135-1-5- (3) (M) 4259 168.0 1870 25.6 3538 112.9 2175 30.1
P6a-3-133-80-5-1-1 (9) (M) 1930 99.7 1435 36.9 2095 183.7 731 26.2
P20a-8-9 (M) 2504 65.3 1842 25.9
P22a-5-7 (M) 685 72.7 327 14.5 687 77.4 267 12.0
Passion (C) 148 5.3 135 3.8 1044 72.1 628 27.2
NK 2002 (C) 105 8.0 52 1.4 509 49.7 207 7.0


Table 4. Commercial and small fruit yields of the four best melofon lines and the ten best melofon experimental hybrids (Newe Ya'ar; spring 1987).

Commercial yield Small fruits yield (diam. <35 mm)
Line/Hybrid (fruits/m2) (g/m2) (fruits/m2) (g/m2)
3 46.2 1580 19.7 300
210 37.1 1505 26.5 605
10 32.0 1575 17.0 375
910 28.8 1815 17.2 605
23 27.8 1575 20.8 540
92 26.9 1700 16.5 505
21 25.6 1540 17.6 540
2 24.4 1350 14.8 435
43 23.4 1620 15.0 455
510 22.6 1775 13.5 560
13 22.4 1140 14.2 385
9 22.2 1175 16.5 470
83 22.0 1230 13.3 425
110 21.9 1045 16.3 475


Fig. l. Fruits of melofon: (left) concentrated set of round fruit in D17-5-135-1-5; (right) cylindrical fruit shape of P22a-5-7.


Last update September 4, 1997 by aw