Improvement of the appearance and taste of kiwano fruits for export to the ornamental and consumer markets

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Abstract

Cucumis metuliferus Mey. (kiwano, melano) originates in Africa and is currently exported as a speciality ornamental fruit to the European market. For this niche of the market the best prices are obtained for large and homogeneously orange coloured fruits. During the duration of the project we optimized agrotechniques for different environments (open field and greenhouse and seasons). We also studied fruit development and post-harvest physiology. The results of our studies on postharvest treatments and storage conditions have enabled us to define and implement the conditions necessary for maintaining quality, extending the export season and controlling the color of the fruits. We found that the fruit could be kept for several months at 20°C and that ethylene application few days before export induced color development in green or yellow fruits. Our current research is aimed at improving the fruit taste so that a larger consumer market can be approached. The taste of kiwano is influenced by sugar content (reflected by total soluble solids (TSS), acidity and aroma. Although conditions such as salinity, temperatures or fruit maturity at harvest, improved the taste, the fruits were not further improvement considered to be tasty, and we thus tried to identify better genotypes. We tested seven different accession lines and identified two with a higher TSS and a good aroma. Hybrids were produced and are currently being tested. Preliminary results indicate that kiwano fruits with a much improved taste will be grown in the near future. It seems at this stage that kiwano can be developed as a new fruit for a broad consumer market.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationActa Horticulturae
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Pages293-299
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9789066059184
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1996

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
Volume434
ISSN (Print)0567-7572

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