Two new types of climate-proof melons could soon be hitting the shelves of your local produce market or the stalls of your neighborhood farmer’s market, all thanks to the miracles of modern science.
Per The New York Times, researchers at Texas A&M have bred cantaloupes they’ve dubbed “Supermelon” and “Flavorific” hybrid melons that are immune to a virulent strain of fungus and extreme weather.
The university began developing these sustainable fruits with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture after 33 people died from cantaloupes contaminated with listeria in 2011.
“The goal of the breeding efforts that resulted in these two new cultivars was to combine traits that optimize disease resistance and yield and enhance retail and sensory quality parameters,” according to the study.
The byproduct of their research is a pair of melons with a robust root structure that could pull more water from the ground. While it wasn’t their primary intention, the researchers created fruit with “apparent drought and heat tolerance.”
With rising temperatures around the world affecting the productivity of crops, finding or creating plant species that can remain healthy despite suboptimal conditions is becoming paramount.
The Times reported that in addition to cantaloupes, scientists have bred or are in the process of breeding a slew of eco-friendly fruits and vegetables — including cherries, avocados, and potatoes — that are either already available to the public or will soon be.
Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Maryland have developed a new type of heat-resistant apple via genetic modification that they say is “meant to be eaten right off the tree.”
While Supermelon and Flavorific cantaloupes might not be meant to be eaten right off the vine, consumers should be intrigued by another crucial characteristic when choosing between two different types of the same fruit.
According to the study, Flavorific melons had a “fruity-floral” flavor, while “the thick ﬂesh [of the Supermelon] is extremely sweet and orange in color.“
Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.