A team of researchers from the Valencian Agrodiversity Conservation and Improvement Institute (Comav) of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) is working on improving the resistance of the Meló d'Or d'Ontinyent to viral diseases caused by insects. In the future, this research will allow growers to obtain more profitable and competitive traditional melons.
The Meló d'Or is a melon grown with ancestral techniques in the rain fed fields of the municipality of Ontinyent, in the Valencian region of La Vall d'Albaida. It is characterized by an intense yellow color, a regular shape and an optimal flavor. It is a unique variety in the world, with more than seven centuries of uninterrupted cultivation in the fields of this Valencian municipality. The sowing starts in March-April and the fruit is harvested in July, August and September, and can be kept in storage until the end of Christmas and even until Easter.
However, in recent decades, its cultivation has been gradually losing ground and since last year, researchers have been analyzing the factors limiting the profitability of the cultivation of this traditional variety. The idea is to tackle them and thus improve the fruit's competitiveness and profitability.
The research started in 2019 pointed to a generalized incidence of certain viruses in the various monitored fields, as well as a significant presence of fungal diseases, such as mildew or powdery mildew. "The incidence of diseases was revealed as one of the biggest limiting factors in the profitability of the Meló d’Or," says Salvador Soler, coordinator of the Comav-UPV research project.
The results confirm the importance of launching a program to improve this melon and make it more resistant to viruses.
In addition to the research, the first steps are being taken to create the "Associació de Productors i Comercialitzadors del Meló d’Or d’Ontinyent" in order to promote the cultivation and consumption of this Valencian melon.
Source: Efe / lavanguardia.com