Composition of Organic and Conventional Wheat

Abstract: In this work, wheat from two farming systems, organic and conventional, was analyzed. Organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry of Europe and the United States. It is an open question, whether organic or conventional agricultural management influences variables such as metabolism, nutrient supply, seed loading and metabolite composition of wheat. Our aim was to detect if organic or conventional farming systems would affect concentrations of metabolites and substances in developing ears and in corresponding matured grain. Therefore, broadband metabolite profiles together with lipids, A cations, starch and protein concentrations of wheat ears in the last phase of grain development and of matured grain from organic and conventional agriculture of a rigorously controlled field trial with two organic and two conventional systems were examined. It appears that seed metabolism and supply of developing ears differ in organic and conventional agriculture. However, the differences in 62 metabolite concentrations become marginal or disappear in the matured grains, indicating an adjustment of nutrients in the matured grain from organic agriculture. This result suggests a high degree of homeostasis in the final seed set independent of the growing regime.

Reference: Zorb, C., et. al. (2009). Levels of compounds and metabolites in wheat ears and grains in organic and conventional agriculture. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 57(20): 9555-9562. Available online at: