Differences between Organic and Conventional Winter Wheat

Abstract: Consumers expect organic produce to have higher environmental, health and sensory related qualities than conventional produce. In order to test sensory differences between bio-dynamically, bio-organically and conventionally grown winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L., cv. Runal), we performed double-blinded triangle tests with two panels on dry wholemeal flour from the harvest years 2006, 2007 and 2009 and from two field replicates of the 'DOK' long-term farming system comparison field trial near Basel, Switzerland. Yield and quality parameters were also assessed. Significant farming system effects were found for yield (up to 42% reduction in the organic system), thousand kernel weight, hectolitre weight and crude protein content across the three years. In the triangle tests one out of 12 pair-wise farming system comparisons (PFSCs) on wholemeal flour made from the different wheat samples showed significant sensory differentiation (between bio-dynamically and conventionally grown wheat). When all data from the three harvest years and two panels were aggregated, a statistically significant effect (P = 0.045) of PFSCs on the number of correct answers became evident. Although testing of dry wholemeal flour was very challenging for panellists, we were able to show that sensory differences between farming systems can occur. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry

Reference: Arncken, Christine M.; Maeder, Paul; Mayer, Jochen; et al. (2012). Sensory, yield and quality differences between organically and conventional grown winter wheat. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 92(14) Special Issue: 2819-2825. Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.5784