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Goal. Investigation and enrichment of assortment, selection of initial variety specimens for different directions of melon crops breeding, in particular melon, in the Steppe of Ukraine.

            Results and Discussion. The results of working with melon genetic resources for at the Dnepropetrovsk Experiment Station of the Institute of Vegetable and Melon Growing of NAAS in 2005–2014 are presented. The major directions of studying specimens of melon genetic diversity in the Northern Steppe of Ukraine were as follows: assessment of morphological characteristics and economic value of the collection material and selection of sources of valuable traits and standard varieties. Within 10 years, 188 accessions were introduced, including 48 accessions – from Ukraine, 69 accessions – from CIS, 71 accessions – from other countries. As of 2014, the collection of melon genetic diversity comprises 297 accessions from 32 countries; among them: 145 – breeding accessions, 136 – local varieties, 9 – breeding lines, and 7 –hybrids.

            Morphological characteristics of melon were assessed, and standard varieties by plant traits at the early developmental stages (cotyledon shape, length and color), leaf blade stage (color  intensity, lobe development, margin dentation), and fruit stage (pre-ripening dominating color of rind and its intensity, color of ripe fruit, fruit shape, pulp parameters) were established.

            Collection specimens were differentiated depending on expression of the traits studied. Cotyledon shape: round- ellipsoidal – 8.7% of specimens, ellipsoidal – 47.8%, oblong- ellipsoidal – 43.5%. Cotyledon length: short – 1.7%, medium – 13.0%, long – 85.3%. Cotyledon color: light green – 36.5%, green – 47.9%, dark green – 15.6%. We characterized specimens Iliiskaya (UL3800057) and Farous (UL3800242) with yellow cotyledons. In most varieties (93%) leaf blades were green of mild to medium intensity. Leaf lobes were strongly pronounced in the accessions of Iliiskaya (UL3800057), Super Sweet (DN00703, Germany), AX12-3016 (DN00705), PI 346890 Muflo (UL3800385), Fiata (UL3800076), Міstseva 255/98 (DN00709). Leaf margin dentation was very weak in most of accessions, except medium manifestation of this trait in KN-6 breeding line (UL3800399) and Fiata variety (UL3800076).

            Pre-ripening dominating color of fruit was green (43%) or grey-green (44%), except the specimens of Aikawa (UL3800371), Кubanka 93 (UL3800047), Fiata (UL3800076), К-8465 (DN00730, China) that were white. Color of ripe fruit was yellow (37.2%), orange (44.3%), green (13.1%), and white (5.4%). Fruit shape was round (40.7%), oval (42.1%), and oblong (17.2%).

            We selected 13 sources of valuable commercial traits that may be used as initial material for breeding research: Кuschova 61 (DN00702), Samarska (UL3800003), Оlviya (UL3800270), Valensiya (UL3800181), Khоvtri 5 (UL3800428), Persydska 45 (UL3800432) with the average fruit weight of 1.4-2.1 kg); Оlviya (UL3800270), Khоvtri 5 (UL3800428), Ananasna (UL3800391) with the fruit number per plant of 3.0 – 6.2; Khоvtri 5 (UL3800428), Bronzovka (UL3800085), L 523/09 (DN00523, Netherlands), Uzbechka (UL3800420), Valensiya (UL3800181), Amarilo oro (UL3800375) with pulp thickness of 4.5 – 5.5 cm.

            Enrichment of the melon collection genetic diversity also occurs via involving new breeding varieties and lines. Four varieties created at the Dnepropetrovsk Experiment Station of the Institute of Vegetable and Melon Growing of NAAS were recognized as valuable specimens of the gene pool. Zlata variety (UL3800026) was selected due to the combination of high total and marketable yields with high-quality fruit; Zabavka variety (UL3800231) – due to the combination of yield capacity with high vitamin C content and ultra-early ripening. Tina variety (UL3800347) is noticeable for the combination of high yield capacity with improved biochemical composition of fruit, and Dayana variety (UL3800346) – with large fruit. A new special breeding line ZhF-3 (UL3800446) characterized by the combination of early ripening (vegetation period of 83 days), yield capacity (11.4 t/ha), high general combining ability in terms of yield capacity (0.80-1.03 t/ha) and its elements (average fruit weight of 0.04 kg) was submitted to registration at the National Center of Plant Genetic Resources of Ukraine (Request No 003117 from 22.11. 2013) and included in the National database of the gene bank of Ukraine for heterosis breeding.

            Conclusions. As a result of scientific research, the melon collection was created, and accessions of melon genetic diversity were thoroughly investigated. 188 specimens from around the world were introduced. The study of 297 gene pool accessions of different origin identified standard varieties of plant and fruit morphological traits. Sources of commercially valuable traits, which were recommended to use in breeding programs, were chosen: 5 sources of high performance; 6 – of large fruit; 3 – of ‘polycarpic’ trait, 6 – great portion of pulp in fruit. Four valuable melon specimens were registered; 1 new special breeding line was submitted to registration; they were created at the Dnepropetrovsk Experimental Station of the Institute of Vegetable and Melon Growing of NAAS.


melon, collection, accession, line, vegetation period, performance, yield capacity