back to article EXPLODING MELONS terrify Chinese

The Chinese authorities are probing a sudden and alarming outbreak of exploding melons, amid suspicions that a 'growth promoter' may be to blame for huge numbers of juicy fruits unexpectedly going bang. According to the BBC, farmers in Jiangsu province have reported the destruction of substantial watermelon assets. Twenty …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've heard of gourds exploding due to some sort of internal fermentation. Could that be the cause?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was expecting another GMTV/Sun outrage. It was unfortunately real exploding melons.

    Oh well, the joy of uncontrolled capitalism combined with the joy of modern technology.

    1. rciafardone

      and toped with...

      a totalitarian regime that is not very picky on ecological matters...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Wang Dehong

    sounds like a completely different kind of growth promoter

  4. Isendel Steel


    Thanks Lester - no mention of bulgarian airbag comparisons...

  5. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    OMG, It's started!

    Same day as Gabe Newell made public his new gaming charging ideas... A coincidence?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Should it prove to be to do with adding chemicals to get the fruit to grow larger, then I have no sympathy. All sounds distinctly dodgy to me.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Its just late rain.. The melon has ripened and hardened then late rain causes it to swell and pop. it happens all the time.. if you get late rain!

    Nothing to see move along..

    1. Old Handle

      Sounds about right

      Though it's not unreasonable to imagine this "grow promoter" works by increasing water uptake and exacerbated the problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        ..the grow promoter was used on only 1 farm, and 10 experience the same problem. Guess what they are all in the same locality and have the same weather...

  8. david 63

    I've been lured here...

    ...under false pretences. Not a jub in sight.

    1. Blue eyed boy

      Me too

      I thought it was an update on the Chelsea Charms story.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    it was them aliens wat done it

    same ones what do them crop circles.

  10. Giddy Kipper
    Thumb Up

    Exploding melons

    Juicy fruits going bang, fingered, engorge and trousering in one story. Nice.

    1. Kevin Reader
      Paris Hilton

      Carry On reboot doubtless in the offing...

      This appears to confirm suspicions that Lester is working on a reboot of the Carry On franchise. After all its about the only one left given Hollywood's current obsession with reinventing the wheel and gilding the lily.

      Ooooo Matron....

      Paris - because clearly he'll be needing a modernised version of "our Babs".

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Carry On reboot doubtless in the offing...

        I'm working up a treatment for "Carry on Charlie" - Katy Perry does a Babs Windsor exploding bra stunt in a hilarious romp with Mexico's Zeta drugs cartel in the remote jungle village of Mucho Campo. A CGI Kenneth Williams plays comedy Latino police chief Enrique Pito Grande attempting to rescue Paris Hilton's chihuahua from the clutches of Russell Brand's sinister cocaine baron El Biggo. Lindsay Lohan cameos as Brand's assassin sidekick Rehabilitada, bowing out early when she ill-advisedly poses as a New York hotel maid and tries to break into the room of international money launderer Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Tommy Lee Jones in top comedic form is a worthy heir to the Sid James throne).

        Any Hollywood producers out there? Let's do lunch...

        1. Kevin Reader


          That is all!

      2. Michael Dunn


        "Painting the lily, gilding refined gold" if you please!

  11. J. R. Hartley

    That's The Day Today today... Goodnight.

    When I read this article I imagined Chris Morris reading it from behind a news desk with greasy hair and a suit.

  12. Christoph

    It's ...

    The Holy Watermelon of Antioch

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Their explanation

    of growth-promoting hormones being responsible is plausible, though fairy unlikely (cells dividing too fast in one region can cause deformities and damage, just like cancer).

    It sounds like a few biology students may have a fun summer project to verify this claim.

  14. Dave 32


    So, what was the chemical? Was it this one?

    Or, something else?


  15. El Zorro


    The Japanese government has just released a statement that all seeds are perfectly safe and any trace glow is probably a result of atmospherics. Officials advise that best growing conditions are at least 80km from any residential buildings

  16. Luke McCarthy

    No Cave Johnson references yet?

    Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With the melons!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Yeah! Burn his house down! Burning people!

      ...Wait -- what's going on here?

      1. serviceWithASmile

        re:destroy all monsters

        portal2 mate. cave johnson, innit.

  17. Cosmo

    Chelsea Charms - take note!

    Using growth hormones on your melons can make 'em go pop!

  18. Bob Arthur

    Mary Whitehouse was here

    Yippee ki yay, melon-farmer!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    I for one...

    Welcome our new radioactively enhanced (and rather tasty) vegetable patch inhabiting overlords.

  20. zen1

    I for one

    welcome our incendiary melon wielding overlords.

  21. zen1

    protecting yourself...

    against someone armed with a banana comes to mind, but the manual never had anything remotely close to a fragmentation like weapon such as a watermelon, honeydew or cantalope. Oh the humanity! Peach, anybody?

  22. sisk

    Agricultural experts NOT baffeled

    They put forchlorfenuron on the melons too late in the season. On top of that, the variety of melon is one known for splitting anyway. There are no baffeled boffins here. Move along.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Wrong Wrong Wrong! Not "Trousered!"

    The item of clothing you have to shoehorn into an engorged melon line would be a bra.

    Trousers would be for... cucumbers, I suppose.

    Better puns, and a cleverly manufactured link to the Chelsea Charms article expected, next time you do an exploding melons piece

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Where do you get these growth promoters ?

    Then I can the missus that it's artificial sweetener.

  25. kain preacher

    bio wepons

    This was just a test. Next time these melons will be armed .

  26. Winston Smith

    Well, clearly

    ... it's just a media stunt by long-since-irrelevant prop comic Gallagher, to promote his upcoming tour of China and Other Destinations of the Far East.

    And you just had to feed the beast by reporting it. Really, Lester, we expected better of you.

  27. pete 22
    Paris Hilton

    Congrats, Lester!

    I thought I was a pervy already, but for some reason now I've an urge to hump a watermelon...

  28. Head


    Whats next, attack of the killer tomato's??

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The killer tomato's what?

      See title

  29. Qu Dawei

    Missing some potentially crucial information

    I live in China. I consider it is plausible that some kind of chemical growth enhancer has been used because China, under the encouragement of the World Bank, embraced capitalist ideas without many of the checks and balances for safety that even the USA have. So many of its people here have grasped the idea that unrestrained acquisition of money is best, and will use many techniques to bring that about. The maxim "Caveat Emptor" should be written large and often on any advice for people wanting to buy things from China. However, they are only doing what the USA and the World Bank wanted them to do. Nevertheless, there is crucial omitted information in the stories that I can supply and confirm from living here: In the provinces the exploding melons have been reported, there have been some shortages of water, because of the lack of rain. This has become severe at times. About 2 weeks ago, a new weather pattern swept over these areas bringing sometimes large amounts of rain. So, the exploding melons could plausibly be just have happened because of the previous drought period keeping them small, yet hardening their skins. The rain then comes along, and the melons attempt to swell, putting the skind under pressure. Given that the varieties of melons might be prone to splitting anyway, I think this is a very plausible competing explanation for the exploding melons, though I have no doubt, some sources may be happy to emphasize the "nasty chemical additives" story to try to hold back any economic success. (The USA may have been happy that China adopted capitalist ideas, but they didn't want them to be more successful than they were themselves, and now may resent it!)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      With a name like Qu

      we might expect you to be familiar with things that explode unexpectedly. :-)

    2. sisk


      Forchlorfenuron doesn't fall under 'nasty chemical additive' here. We use it on grapes in the US. The catch is that it should only be used when the plants are very young, on any type of fruit. From what I've read elsewhere the farmers having this trouble are mostly new to growing watermelons (having jumped on the watermelon bandwagon when prices skyrocketed) and didn't realize that.

      1. Qu Dawei

        Doesn't matter - truth often goes out of the window when media sales are required

        It doesn't really matter whether Forchlorfenuron is a "nasty chemical additive" here or not: what matters is the way in which it is portrayed by the media and other parties who may wish to label it like that for their own reasons: the media, because such sensationalist stories can often boost sales, and the other people, because they may want to frighten people off (the media may be part of this other group as well) I must say your message read rather oddly in the way the first two sentences were juxtaposed: it might give people the impression that, as an illustration that Forchlorfenuron is not a "nasty chemical additive", you can offer up the observation that it is used on grapes in the USA. I do not think that necessarily follows, but this is only a quibble. My main point remains that whether or not the chemical is a "nasty chemical additive" or not, the media can sway people's opinions greatly, and it has been portrayed as perhaps being nasty by some of them, and if you believe it is not, you have to wonder why.

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