19 Juni 2024

Melancias plantadas em um dos locais mais frios do mundo

6 min read

Pesquisadores russos conseguiram com sucesso plantar melancias em um dos locais mais inóspitos do planeta: a Antártica. O cultivo faz parte de um experimento realizado na estação russa Vostok, um dos locais mais frios da Terra, onde os registros de temperatura já marcaram -89,2°C.

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As melancias surgiram há mais de 4300 anos, no atual Sudão, estando presente até mesmo em pinturas de uma antiga tumba egípcia de Saqqara, ou seja, muito longe do ambiente gelado da Antártica. 

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Cultivo na Antártica

Para as melancias serem cultivadas, os pesquisadores da Expedição Antártica Russa do Instituto de Pesquisa do Ártico e Antártico (AARI), do Instituto de Pesquisa Agrofísica e do Instituto de Problemas Biomédicos da Academia Russa de Ciências transformaram a Estação Vostok em um lugar mais propício para o crescimento da fruta, com o aumento da temperatura e da umidade do ar.

Na pesquisa foram utilizadas duas variedades de melancias que possuem maturação precoce e adaptabilidade a baixa pressão atmosférica e à falta de oxigênio na estufa. As sementes foram plantadas em uma fina camada de substrato no solo e foram instaladas iluminações que simulam a luz do sol no ambiente.

Por não existir insetos na Antártica, as flores da melancia precisaram ser polinizadas manualmente, e após 103 dias do cultivo, as frutas estavam prontas para serem colhidas. Foram oito no total, pesando em torno de 1 quilo e com 13 centímetros de diâmetro. De acordo com os pesquisadores, elas eram “doces”.

Naturalmente, todos os exploradores polares ficaram felizes em lembrar o sabor do verão. Mesmo a observação de mudas, crescimento e aparecimento de frutas … [despertou] emoções positivas.

Andrei Teplyakov, geofísico líder da pesquisa, em resposta a Sociedade Geográfica Russa

Em 2020, os pesquisadores já plantaram endro, manjericão, salsa, rúcula e repolho na estação Vostok, e em 2021, pesquisadores coreanos também produziram melancias na Estação King Sejong, na Antártica Ocidental. Os cientistas agora pretendem cultivar amoras, morangos e mirtilos no local.

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