When it comes to buying watermelons, the cost is far less than paying for the whole package.
That’s the conclusion of a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, which found that the cost of a gallon of watermelon can be reduced by nearly half, and the amount of watermelon processed per day can be cut by 90 percent.
“The cost of water is low,” said senior author Rachael M. Kann, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis.
“There are no large-scale watermelon growers who are struggling to pay the costs associated with watermelon.”
In order to cut the costs of water, the researchers focused on the use of organic ingredients that are grown from recycled materials, as opposed to processed from chemical sources.
“A large portion of the cost associated with growing watermelts comes from organic sources, including from waste, watermelting ponds, and waterfowl,” said Kann.
The research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports on Thursday.
Watermelons typically contain as much as 20 percent water, and a single kilogram of water can contain about one-third of a litre of water.
Kanna says the key to cutting the costs is not just how much water is harvested and processed, but also how that water is consumed.
“If the watermelon farmer doesn’t have to pay for water, then he or she is less likely to waste water,” she said.
“And that means less waste is coming out of the ground, and that makes the land more productive.”
The researchers also examined the impact of how much carbon dioxide (CO2) was produced during the processing process.
The CO2 was measured by using a device called a carbon dioxide monitoring instrument, which measures the amount and type of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“It was a very simple device,” Kanna said.
A small amount of CO2 can be measured and stored for later analysis, and it can be easily converted into the chemical compounds that form the food we eat.
“We found that CO2 from watermelon is just as efficient as CO2 produced from waste watermelchones,” Kann said.
The researchers estimate that, if a farmer in the US were to grow a kilogram (3.3 pounds) of water in the field, the price per kilogram would drop to about $1.
“That would mean the farmer would save $2.33 per day, which would result in an overall savings of $10.37,” Kannon said.
To make the reduction even more dramatic, Kann and her colleagues looked at the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity used for the watermelaners.
“Using a simple cost-effectiveness model, we estimate that this water is a cost-effective alternative to other agricultural energy sources,” KANN said.
Using a cost estimate, they found that if a single watermelon was harvested and stored, the average price per litre would be about $2, and this number would increase as the water is processed and the yield is reduced.
“This study indicates that, even if a watermelond is grown from waste,” Kahan said, “the water can be recycled back into the soil.
This would increase the productivity of the land and reduce the costs.”