1. Shenyang Agricultural University (SYAU), Shenyang 110866, China
2. Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences (LAAS), Shenyang 110161, China
3. Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing 100081, China
4. Beijing University of Agriculture, Beijing 102206, China
The most important quality for muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) is their sweetness which is closely related to the soluble sugars content. Leaves are the main photosynthetic organs in plants and thus the source of sugar accumulation in fruits since sugars are translocated from leaves to fruits. The effects of grafting muskmelon on two different inter-specific (Cucurbita maxima×C. moschata) rootstocks was investigated with respect to photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Grafting Zhongmi1 muskmelon on RibenStrong (GR) or Shengzhen1 (GS) rootstocks increased chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and chlorophyll a+b content and the leaf area in middle and late developmental stages of the plant compared to the ungrafted Zhongmi1 check (CK). Grafting enhanced the net photosynthesis rate, the stomatal conductance, concentration of intercellular CO2 and transpiration rate. Grafting influenced carbohydrates contents by changing carbohydrate metabolic enzymes activities which was observed as an increase in acid invertase and neutral invertase activity in the functional leaves during the early and middle developmental stages compared to CK. Grafting improved sucrose phosphate synthase and stachyose synthase activities in middle and late developmental stages, thus translocation of sugars (such as sucrose, raffinose and stachyose) in GR and GS leaves were significantly enhanced. However, compared with CK, translocation of more sugars in grafted plants did not exert feedback inhibition on photosynthesis. Our results indicate that grafting muskmelon on inter-specific rootstocks enhances photosynthesis and translocation of sugars in muskmelon leaves.
Keywords: Chlorophyll content, Photosynthesis, Raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFOs), Carbohydrate metabolism, Grafting, Muskmelon