National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science, Rural Development Administration1
Research Coordination Division, Rural Development Administration2
Melons (Cucumis melo L.) are generally grafted onto Cucurbita rootstocks to manage soilborne pathogens such as Monosporascus root rot and vine decline (MRR/VD) and Fusarium wilt. However, grafting onto Cucurbita rootstocks reportedly results in the reduction of fruit quality. In this study, the resistance to MRR/VD, yield, and fruit quality of melons grafted onto melon rootstocks were evaluated under greenhouse conditions. Eight melon rootstocks (R1 to R8) were used and the inodorus melon ‘Homerunstar’ was used as scion. Melon rootstocks R1 to R6 were selected based on resistance to MRR/VD under greenhouse conditions. Non-grafted ‘Homerunstar’ and plants grafted onto squash interspecific hybrid ‘Shintozwa’ rootstock (Cucurbita maxima D. × C. moschata D.) served as controls. Grafted melons were cultivated in the greenhouse infested with Monosporascus cannonballus during two growing seasons (summer and autumn). The responses to MRR/VD, yield, and fruit quality differed depending on the rootstocks and growing season. The melons grafted onto ‘Shintozwa’ exhibited less severe disease symptoms and higher survival rates than non-grafted melons in both seasons. While the melon rootstocks in the summer cultivation did not increase the survival rate compared to non-grafted melons, the melon rootstocks R1 and R2 in the autumn cultivation led to higher survival rates. The melon rootstocks resistant to MRR/VD increased the percentage of marketable fruits and marketable yields. Grafting onto the melon rootstocks caused little or no reduction of fruit quality such as low calcium content, fruit softening, and vitrescence, especially in lower-temperature autumn season. Accordingly, these results suggest that grafting onto the melon rootstocks may increase the tolerance to MRR/VD and the marketable yield without a reduction of fruit quality.
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