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China: Exploding watermelons points to overuse of growth hormones (VIDEO)

Farmers in China are suspected of overusing growth hormones on watermelons and creating fields of "land mines."

Farmers in China are suspected of overusing growth hormones on watermelons and creating fields of "land mines."

About 20 farmers around Danyang city in Jiangsu province lost up to 115 acres of melon, the AP reports, quoting China Central Television.

Wang Liangju, a professor of horticulture at Nanjing Agricultural University, blamed the exploding watermelons on the overspraying of the chemical forchlorfenuron, used to make the fruit grow fast.

The chemical — allowed in the U.S. on kiwi fruit and grapes — is permitted by China, however the report "underscores how farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers," according to the AP.

A rise in watermelon prices over the past year also spurred many novice growers to enter the market. Liangju said the chemical had been used too late in the season.

One farmer, who admitted spraying the chemical, lost a third of his watermelon crop a day later when 180 melons burst, local media reported.

However, watermelons not sprayed with forchlorfenuron also reportedly exploded, and other agricultural experts blamed heavy rains that came after a recent drought.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/110519/china-watermelon-fruit-markets-horticulture-agriculture-video