A colossal food fight is one way to use up the season's supply of subpar produce. But scientists have discovered another: convert rejected fruits into biofuel. The study, conducted by USDA researchers and published in the journal Biotechnology For Biofuels, found that the 360,000 tons of fruit rejected by US retailers each year could be converted into roughly two million gallons of biofuel.
Research team leader Wayne Fish said that 50 percent of the fruit, which is typically left in the fields and not sold due to cosmetic imperfections, is fermentable into ethanol, which can be used as fuel, “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." I'd never considered that fruit could be a viable source of renewable energy — but I find it refreshing (although perhaps not as refreshing as, say, an In-Sandíary).
Are you surprised to hear that watermelon could have potential past the typical Summer barbecue?