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China’s exploding watermelons

world Updated: May 18, 2011 00:29 IST

Watermelon fields in eastern China are a mess of burst fruit after farmers abused growth chemicals in an attempt to make extra money, but ended up ruining their crops, state media reported on Tuesday.

An investigative report by China Central Television found farms in and around Danyang city in Jiangsu province were losing acres of fruit to the problem.

The farmers sprayed forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator, during overly wet weather and put it on too late in the season, which made the melons burst, CCTV said, citing agricultural experts.

Telltale signs of treated watermelons are fibrous, misshapen fruit with mostly white instead of black seeds, it said.