The watermelons in eastern China have been bursting open, covering the fields, after the farmers gave them overdose of growth chemicals during the wet weather, creating what has been called “fields of land mines.”
In hopes of making their watermelons bigger and much more profitable, the farmers were using a growth accelerator which is known as forchlorfenuron.
Around 20 farmers inDanyang city in Jiangsu province has been affected, losing up to 115 acres of watermelons. What is Forchlorfenuron?
According to the U.S. EPA, “Forchlorfenuron is cytokinthat improves the size of the fruit, the fruit set, cluster weight and cold storage in grapes and in kiwifruits.”
Wang Liangju, the professor with the College of Horticulture at Nanjing Agricultural University was in Danyang when the problems start happening. He believes that the chemical is safe when it’s used properly. He told The Associated Press that the drug was used too late in the season when a heavy rain activity raised the risk of the fruit exploding. The professor also believes the variety of melon played a very important role. “If it had been used on very young fruits, it wouldn’t be a problem,” said professor Wang. He also added, “Another reason [for the issue] is that the melon that they were planting is a thin-rind variety and these types are actually called the ‘exploding melon’ because they tend to split.”
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