Carrot Quality: Organic vs Conventional

Abstract: The aim of this review is to provide an update on factors contributing to quality of carrots, with special focus on the role of pre- and postharvest factors and processing. The genetic factor shows the highest impact on quality variables in carrots, causing a 7-11-fold difference between varieties in content of terpenes, -carotene, magnesium, iron and phenolics as well as a 1-4-fold difference in falcarindiol, bitter taste and sweet taste. Climate-related factors may cause a difference of up to 20-fold for terpenes, 82% for total sugars and 30-40% for -carotene, sweet taste and bitter taste. Organic farming in comparison with conventional farming has shown 70% higher levels for magnesium and 10% for iron. Low nitrogen fertilisation level may cause up to 100% increase in terpene content, minor increase in dry matter (+4 to +6%) and magnesium (+8%) and reduction in -carotene content (-8 to -11%). Retail storage at room temperature causes the highest reduction in -carotene (-70%) and ascorbic acid (-70%). Heat processing by boiling reduces shear force (-300 to -1000%) and crispiness (-67%) as well as content of phenolics (-150%), terpenes (-85%) and total carotenes (-20%) and increases the risk of furan accumulation. Sensory and chemical quality parameters of carrots are determined mainly by genetic and climate-related factors and to a minor extent by cultivation method. Retail temperature and storage atmosphere as well as heating procedure in processing have the highest impact in quality reduction. (c) 2013 Society of Chemical Industry

Reference: Seljasen, R., et al. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 93(11): 2611-2626. Available online at