Rejected watermelons that are currently plowed back into the field due to blemishes or misshapenness—and therefore deemed unsalable—could be used to drive your car.
Results published in the open access journal Biotechnology for Biofuels show that the juice from these culled watermelons can either be efficiently turned into ethanol or used as a diluent for other biofuel crops.
“About 20% of each annual watermelon crop is left in the field because of surface blemishes or because they are misshapen. We’ve shown that the juice of these melons is a source of readily fermentable sugars, representing a heretofore untapped feedstock for ethanol biofuel production,” explains lead author Wayne Fish with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory.
Fish also says that watermelon juice is a source of lycopene and L-citrulline, two ‘nutraeuticals’ (a word-combination of nutrition and pharmaceuticals) that are in high demand in the health-foods’ market. After these compounds are removed to be sold, the juice can still be fermented into ethanol.
Citation: Wayne W Fish, Benny D Bruton and Vincent M Russo . Watermelon juice: a promising feedstock supplement, diluent, and nitrogen supplement for ethanol biofuel production. Biotechnology for Biofuels. August, 25, 2009.
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