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Rootstock importance for aroma profile in mini-watermelon fruits

In recent years, mini-watermelons have increased in popularity. To maintain production and quality standards, various agronomic techniques have been applied. For the Cucurbitaceae family, grafting techniques have been used to improve resistance to abiotic stresses, crop productivity and fruit qualitative characteristics. Currently, there is no available information on the influence of grafting on the aroma compounds of mini-watermelons.

"We evaluated the effect of some rootstocks, which were selected for their tolerance to pathogens, on the quality of mini-watermelons, with particular attention to the volatile aroma compounds," say the scientists at University of Messina (Italy).

The most represented volatile aroma detected were C6 and C9 aldehydes and alcohols, among which (Z)-2-nonenal, (E,Z)-2,6-nonadienal, (Z)-3-nonen-1-ol and (Z,Z)-3,6-nonadien-1-ol were prevalent.

"Quantitative differences resulted related to the various selected rootstocks, among which the RS841 rootstock was found to be the most suitable for maintaining yield, quality parameters, sensory characteristics and volatile aroma compounds of mini-watermelon fruits," say the scientists.

Results have confirmed the importance of screening for rootstock/scion combinations in order to select a graft able to provide resistance to abiotic stresses, and at the same time improve yield and fruit quality.

Source: Gianluca Tripodi, Concetta Condurso, Fabrizio Cincotta, Maria Merlino, Antonella Verzera, 'Aroma compounds in mini-watermelon fruits from different grafting combinations', 2020, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

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