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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Organic vs. Conventionally Grown 'Rio Red' Grapefruit: Comparison of Production Inputs, Market Quality, Consumer Preferences, and Human Health-bioactive Compounds

Authors
item Lester, Gene
item Manthey, John
item Buslig, Bela - FLORIDA DEPT. CITRUS

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2007
Publication Date: June 6, 2007
Citation: Lester, G.E., Manthey, J.A., Buslig, B.S. 2007. Organic vs. conventionally grown 'Rio Red' grapefruit: Comparison of production inputs, market quality, consumer preferences, and human health-bioactive compounds. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 55:4474-4480.

Interpretive Summary: Claims that organic produce is better tasting and more nutritious than non organic (conventional) produce are largely unsubstantiated. This is due mainly to a lack of rigor in matching common production variables of both production systems; such as microclimate, soil type, previous crop, irrigation source, plant age, and cultivar. When all common production variables were matched in a production systems comparison of commercially-grown conventional and certified-organic red-fruited grapefruit,conventional fruit was found to better colored, higher in lycopene, less tart, lower in the bitter principle naringin, and were better tasting than organic. Whereas, organic fruit had a commercially preferred thinner peel, was higher in vitamin C (citric acid) and sugars, and lower in the drug interactive bergamottin compounds and the negative health compound nitrate.

Technical Abstract: Research claims that organic produce is better tasting and more nutritious than non organic (conventional) produce are largely unsubstantiated. This is due mainly to a lack of rigor in matching common production variables of both production systems; such as microclimate, soil type, previous crop, irrigation source, plant age, and cultivar. Therefore, all common production variables were matched in a production systems comparison of commercially-grown conventional and certified-organic red-fruited grapefruit. Grapefruit from each production system were harvested between 0800 and 1000 hr at commercial early- (Nov.), mid- (Jan.) and late-season (March) harvest periods for three consecutive years. Within each harvest season conventional and organic fruit were compared for quality, human health-bioactive compound concentrations and consumer preferences. Conventional fruit was better colored, higher in lycopene, less tart, lower in the bitter principle naringin, and were better tasting than organic. Whereas, organic fruit had a commercially preferred thinner peel, was higher in vitamin C (citric acid) and sugars, and lower in the drug interactive bergamottin compounds and the negative health factor nitrate.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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