Cytokinins are phytohormones that promote plant growth through stimulation of cell division in roots and shoots of plants, and also impact bud growth and leaf maturity.
Leskovar said this research would help producers be more successful when establishing melons in "more stressful" areas of the state, such as drier areas with less-than-optimal soil.
"Melons prefer a medium textured soil, but the South and South Central Texas area has more of a silty clay soil," he said. "Melons developed or bred for better efficiency using less irrigation will have a lower risk of failure in areas that might once have been considered inhospitable for them."
He said he has contacted growers in these areas about testing melon production on a more commercial basis and that he already has had some positive response to the idea.
Kevin Crosby, AgriLife Research specialist in vegetable breeding and genetics with the Texas A&M Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center in College Station, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been working in conjunction with Weslaco center scientists to produce more disease-resistant melon varieties.
"What you might see in terms of disease related to melon varieties are viral diseases spread by whiteflies, and fungal pathogens which cause vine-decline diseases, and mildew," Crosby said.
He said he and others at the Weslaco center and Vegetable and Fruit Improvement center are assessing and breeding melon varieties that are more resistant to disease, have a longer shelf live and better transportability and higher phytochemical content.
Among those phytochemicals the melons are being assessed for are vitamin
|Contact: Dr. Daniel Leskovar|
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications