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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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Scientists compare conventional
and organic tomato cultivation

Organic tomatoes contain more vitamin C and other healthy substances than conventional vegetables because they are subjected to more stress during their growth. A study conducted by Brazilian scientists in which they compared organic and conventional types of tomatoes points towards these results.

The fields used in the experiment had similar soil properties. Liquid manure was spread on the organic tomato field and the remains of pulses as well as bagasse, a by-product of sugar cane, were ploughed under before sowing. During the growth period, the tomatoes were protected from fungal infections by a mixture of slaked lime and copper sulphate.

Organic tomatoes are smaller
and experience more stress

The conventional plants, on the other hand, were sprayed with mineral-based synthetic fertiliser and pesticides. The scientists took samples of unripe (green) fruit, at an in between stage, and of fully ripe, harvest-ready fruit (red). They compared size, weight and the amount of certain elements such as sugar, vitamin C and secondary plant compounds such as phenol. Organic tomatoes were 40 percent lighter and also smaller than the conventionally grown crop. This is probably due to conventionally grown tomatoes enjoyed a good nitrogen supply from the mineral-based fertiliser and generally better growth conditions.


57% more vitamin C in organic tomatoes

Organic tomatoes seem to be subject to more oxidative stress during the growth cycle. As a result they produce smaller fruits. But these contain more sugar and other healthy substances. At harvest, the organic vegetables had 57% more vitamin C and about 139% more plant phenols with known health benefits in protecting cells from aggressive free oxygen radicals. They were also discovered to contain high quantities of specific anti oxidative enzymes. Researchers put this all down to the moderate stress while they’re growing which results in the production of micro nutrients and improves quality.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de