Unexplainable Katrina Watermelons Being Tested

Published: Dec. 27, 2005 at 10:11 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2005 at 7:59 PM CST
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Last week, 9 News told you about an unusual phenomenon in St. Bernard Parish that has some experts baffled.  Watermelons are growing in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and no one seems to be able to explain why. The story of the Katrina melons has now sparked the interest of some biologists, who are curious about just what might be inside.  Gary Ross is one biologist who made the trip to investigate the melons.

"From a scientific point of view, I think it's interesting just to see how plants may or may not filter anything that's in the soils," said Ross.

A native of New Orleans, Ross said he felt compelled to examine the Katrina melons.

"It's a general scientific interest, and it also could be a public concern because a lot of the people who see these nice watermelons may want to immediately eat them.  And they may be perfectly fine... but then they may not be."

Ross also took soil samples from the ground where watermelons were inexplicably sprouting.  He says he wants to know what's in the dirt that spawned the springtime fruit in the fall and winter.

While he collected samples he explained, "This site, in my opinion, probably has the potential of having the most contaminants, if any, because it's a low area and the water pooled and sat here for awhile."

The next stop for the melons Ross collected will be the LSU laboratory in Baton Rouge.  The test results will be available in about two to three weeks. We will be sure to pass them along to you when we get them.

Reporter:  Jim Shannon