Organic Tomatoes Are Packed With Vitamin C

State fruit - Tomato

State fruit – Tomato (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brazilian researchers found that when comparing organically grown tomatoes with conventionally grown ones, the organic tomatoes are 55 percent higher in Vitamin C when they are ready to be marketed. The down side is that the organic tomatoes are also 40 percent smaller.

The study used tomatoes obtained from local producers in the northeastern part of Brazil. The organic and conventional farms were 1.5 kilometers apart, ensuring that both types of tomatoes were planted under similar environmental conditions. The organic growers stated that they used a compost of animal manure, legumes and sugar cane bagasse incorporated into the soil just before planting. Every 10 days, a mixture of copper sulfate and slaked lime was used preventively as a fungicide. The conventional growers used the pesticide FASTAC®100 when needed and inorganic fertilizer recommended by the Brazilian agricultural development department. The actual tomatoes tested were  evaluated at three developmental stages: immature, ripe, and ready for harvesting. “Fruits were harvested manually from 30 plants for each system, then washed in tap water and carefully selected to insure good uniformity in maturity and size.”

In addition to the higher Vitamin C content, here’s what else the researchers observed:

  • The organic tomatoes had a 29 percent higher level of acidity
  • The organic tomatoes had 139 percent more phenols (naturally occurring compounds that act as antioxidants)
  • Plants grown organically are exposed  to greater stress than conventional farming, which may explain why organic tomatoes had higher levels of sugars, vitamin C and phenols

In conclusion, the researchers noted, “Our observations suggest that, at least for fruit and vegetable production, growers should not systematically try to reduce stress to maximize yield and fruit size, but should accept a certain level of stress as that imposed by organic farming with the objective of improving certain aspects of product quality.”

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~ by chasm63 on February 21, 2013.

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