Melon Breeding: Past Experiences and Future Challenges
Suwarno, W. B.
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Melon (Cucumis melo L.) is a species with the largest genetic diversity among others in the Cucurbitaceae family, and therefore providing opportunities for plant breeders to develop new, improved varieties. C. melo var reticulatus (North American cantaloupes), C. melo var inodorus (honeydews), and C. melo var cantalupensis (European cantaloupes) are the most widely known among at least eight cultivar groups. Melon is a cross pollinated species where most of pollination events are performed by bees. F1 hybrid is the most common type of varieties could be found in the market today. Some important fruit traits in melon include: fruit weight, sugar content, flesh color and texture, rind appearance and hardness, and shelf-life. An ideotype of large fruit with an attracting orange or green, sweet and crisp flesh are more demanded nowadays for Indonesian market. Additionally, obtaining varieties resistant to main pests and diseases are of importance as well. We have been conducting a melon breeding program aimed for quality fruits .at the Center for Tropical Horticulture Studies, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), and two honeydew varieties has been released. Recetly we identified a melon genotype (IPB Meta 9) exhibiting good resistance to downy mildew and can be utilized in a breeding program. Future challenges include shifts in consumer preferences, for example, small-size fruits may be more preferred for personal or small family consumptions.