- What is Kalahari watermelon
In response to strong sunlight and water drought, most plants produce reactive oxygen species and eventually die. However, wild watermelon accumulates antistress substances including citrulline, a type of amino acid, enabling it to survive under a harsh desert environment. Furthermore, wild watermelon is an amazing fruit, with superior water retention ability, as shown by its capacity to retain high quantities of water up to 3 years after harvesting.
The vast Kalahari Desert occupies 70% of the land area of Botswana in Southern Africa. It is located in a dry region with annual precipitations of 250-500 mm, and extremely low precipitations during winter months (May to July) that make up only 10% of the total annual precipitations. The daytime temperature in summer can reach 40°C, while winter is cold with air temperatures dropping to as low as 2°C. Wild watermelon, which can withstand this harsh desert environment, supports the ecosystem of the region by supplying both nutrients and water.
Various studies on wild watermelon have been conducted in universities and companies for about 20 years since its introduction into Japan. As a result, some of the physiological characteristics of wild watermelon, such as a tremendous growth potential, a high adaptability to severe environmental stresses, and a genome containing various genes enabling wild watermelon to produce substances that confer resistance to environmental stresses, have been clarified. To this day, 14 scientific papers and 6 patents related to wild water melon are in the public domain.Front line of wild watermelon research
Wild watermelon is a promising nutrient source, with several unknown aspects. Its potential as a functional nutrient source has been the focus of intense research in recent years.
The addition of wild watermelon juice to melanin-producing cells (mouse melanoma cells) suppressed melanin production by the cells. This result suggests that wild watermelon juice might be effective in suppressing the occurrence of spots and dullness resulting from melanin production.
Hypertensive rats were given either water or wild watermelon juice, and their blood pressure was measured 4 and 8 hours later. The blood pressure of rats that were given wild watermelon juice decreased significantly, suggesting that wild watermelon juice might be effective in treating hypertension.
The growth of human skin fibroblasts was enhanced by the addition of wild watermelon juice to the culture medium, suggesting that wild watermelon juice activates skin fibroblasts. This effect might prevent wrinkle formation and the decline in skin fitness.
Growth of human epidermal keratinocytes was enhanced by the addition of wild watermelon juice, suggesting the possibility that wild watermelon juice activates human epidermal keratinocytes and stimulates their metabolism.
Canine kidney cells infected with influenza virus were incubated in a medium containing wild watermelon juice at different concentrations. Influenza v
Wild watermelon can accumulate citrulline, a type of amino acid, which is effective in eliminating highly oxidative reactive oxygen named hydroxyl radWild watermelon can accumulate citrulline, a type of amino acid that is effective in eliminating hydroxyl radical, a highly oxidative reactive oxygen species. It has been demonstrated that the antioxidative activity of wild watermelon juice, i.e. its ability to prevent salicylic acid oxidationinduced by hydroxyl radicals, exceeds that of citrulline alone. This finding implies that wild watermelon contains, in addition to citrulline, another antioxidative compound that warrants further investigation.