Why melon smells like acetone

Why melon smells like acetone

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Often during harvesting and further consumption of melons, in particular melons, serious changes in their taste and smell are observed. Usually, the melon is bitter or has a special "chemical smell", for example, the smell of acetone. Naturally, many consumers are wary of such manifestations and do not eat such products. And I must say that their fears are well founded.

List of Possible Cause of Melon Taste Degradation

There can be several reasons for the deterioration of the melon taste. Mostly they are associated with mistakes in plant care. These include:

  1. Errors in the choice of the climatic zone of cultivation. Melon is a thermophilic plant and needs more maintenance in colder regions. In very cold climates, it is generally not recommended to grow melon outdoors.
  2. Lack of moisture, as well as excessive moisture, can change the taste of the melon and the texture of its pulp.
  3. The use of excessive doses of mineral fertilizers (especially nitrogen-containing ones) leads to the appearance of a sour or bitter taste in the fruit.
  4. If the fruit is overexposed on the melon, that is, to bring them to a state of overripe, a strong "chemical" shade appears in their taste and smell, reminiscent of the smell of acetone or solvent.
  5. Fungal diseases, in particular fusarium, lead to the appearance of a bitter taste in the fruit.
  6. Mechanical damage to fruits is an additional place for bacteria to enter them, the activity of which leads not only to the appearance of an unpleasant odor and taste, but also to their spoilage.

In addition, other forms of improper plant care and events of a random nature (for example, pest infestations, etc.) are attributed to the reasons for the deterioration of the taste of fruits.

How soil composition and care affects melon taste

The influence of the composition of the soil and the degree of its "grooming" is one of two conditions for obtaining a good harvest of the considered melons and gourds (another important condition is the presence of a large amount of heat and light).

Melons grow best on light black soil, etc. "Chestnut" soils with a high degree of moisture. However, one should not think that melons are capable of growing only on such soils, the plant bears fruit well in saline areas, which compares favorably with many representatives of domesticated crops.

The main requirement for the soil is its good supply of nutrients (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) and a sufficient amount of moisture. It is possible to ensure the presence of nutrients in the soil if fertilizers (mainly organic) are applied to it. One of the most effective ways is to add rotted manure to autumn plowing in an amount of up to 600 kg per hundred square meters. This amount of fertilizer is enough to get a melon crop next season without any additional fertilizing.

The decrease in the amount of nutrients affects mainly the size of the fruit. But non-compliance with watering norms leads not only to crushing of the fruit, but also to a deterioration in taste. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the melon is bitter not from the presence of nitrates in its tissues, but from improper watering.

What rules for growing must be followed

The cultivation of each crop must fully comply with the rules of agricultural technology for it. Melon is no exception. All conditions for growing melon must be respected. The most important is the temperature at which the culture is kept. This means, for example, that you should not grow melons outdoors in cold climates.

This is especially important for southern varieties that require not only an appropriate air temperature, but also an acceptable soil temperature. In addition, any melon needs a lot of sunlight to ripen properly.

If there is a suspicion that the soil on the site may contain spores of fungi or larvae of pests, it must be pre-treated with an appropriate preparation. After such treatment, you should wait at least two months before planting the plant.

Important! When treating soil from pests with pesticides, remember that this procedure cannot be performed when the plant is already planted. Moreover, it is impossible to process the already set fruits.

The choice of the place for growing melons (and melons in general) is also important. The area where melons are grown must be removed at a safe distance from roads (at least 100 m) or large enterprises (at least 1 km).

It is also important not to let the melons overripe. When overripe, metabolic processes in the fruits stop, and many products of the vital activity of cells (and they are always secreted in all living organisms) may not be removed from the fruits into the environment, but remain in it. In addition, overripe fruits are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria that cause intestinal distress.

Why melon smells and tastes like acetone

Melon aroma and taste (and any similar product - pineapples, bananas, peaches, etc.) is due to the presence of a large number of esters in them. A small concentration of such substances creates the very fruity aroma characteristic of ripe fruits. If the concentration of such substances exceeds some critical values, then their smell becomes similar to the "smell of acetone".

Important! Do not think that if a melon smells like acetone, then it contains acetone. The presence of such a smell is due to the presence in the fruits of ethyl acetate and isoamyl acetate, which have a molecule, part of which is similar to acetone.

Reasons for the appearance of the smell and taste of acetone in melon

Ethyl acetate and isoamyl acetate appear in high concentrations in melons and other fruits as they mature. Overriding leads to autolysis of fetal tissues - a self-digestion process caused by a slowdown in metabolic processes with excessive ripeness.

Autolysis results in the release of a large amount of the same ethyl acetate. However, this substance in itself is not dangerous, since its concentration, even in large fruits, is too low to pose a danger to humans.

The problem is that the acetone odor is an indicator that bacteria are developing inside the fetus, which did not pose a serious threat until overripe. When the process of autolysis of fruits began, the withdrawal of both the bacteria themselves from the tissues and cavities of the fetus, and their waste products stopped, and they began to multiply inside the melon uncontrollably. Namely, their waste products, mainly consisting of dead proteins and amines, pose a danger to humans.

Is it possible to eat such melons

Even if the aroma is dominated by a fruity smell, and the notes of ethyl acetate are barely noticeable, then this indicates that the melon is already overripe, and you can eat it at your own peril and risk. In this case, there will be no particularly serious consequences, approximately 80% of such fruits do not pose a danger to humans. And, in fact, to apply the term "danger" to a weak intestinal disorder is not too correct.

In the case when ethyl acetate predominates in the smell of melon, you should not eat it. And few people will have a desire to use a product with a clear "technical" flavor.

If the melon has the taste of acetone, it is strictly forbidden to use it, since the number of bacteria developing simultaneously with the release of ethyl acetate is already too large in it. And, as a consequence, the concentration of their waste products, which pose a potential danger to humans, is also very high. And here a mild disorder can develop into serious poisoning.


If the melon is bitter, with a high degree of probability this means that mistakes were made during its cultivation, and this product should not be consumed. And even if substances that cause an unpleasant taste or smell are not dangerous to humans, they are companions of more serious processes taking place inside the fetus. But the consequences of these processes can be much more serious.

Watch the video: The 7 Reasons Why You Experience a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth