Background and methodology:
A diet containing moderate amounts of lycopene has been associated with the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancers of the prostate and gastrointestinal tract. Many health experts have recommended increasing levels of dietary lycopene by consuming more fresh tomatoes and tomato products.
To maximize the content of lycopene in tomatoes, numerous investigations have been conducted to evaluate the influences of genotype, agricultural practices and environment. However, there is debate as to whether growing vegetables under organic management systems will lead to higher concentrations of lycopene compared to conventional management systems.
An on-farm trial was conducted on 10 matched pairs of organic and conventional farms in central and southern Taiwan. Management practices and environmental conditions were evaluated for influences on fruit quality and the development of lycopene and other antioxidant compounds in tomatoes.
When matched pairs were evaluated as individual case studies, significant differences were found between two pairs of conventional and organic farms for ascorbic acid, total phenolics and lycopene concentrations, as well as for pH, soluble solids and color value. This investigation showed that organic farmers with no experience in on-farm trials could successfully conduct horticultural research. It also was determined that tomatoes with higher levels of antioxidant compounds can be grown on organic farms in humid, sub-tropical conditions.
- Lumpkin, H. (2005). A comparison of lycopene and other phytochemicals in tomatoes grown under conventional and organic management systems. Technical Bulletin No. 34. AVRDC publication number 05-623. Shanhua, Taiwan: AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center. Available on-line at: http://www.avrdc.org/publications/technical_bulletin/TB34.pdf
- Caris-Veyrat, C., Amiot, M. J.,Tyssandier, V., Grasselly, D., Buret, M., Mikolajczak, M., Guilland, J. C., Bouteloup-Demange, C., & Borel, P. (2004). Influence of organic versus conventional agricultural practice on the antioxidant microconstituent content of tomatoes and derived purees; consequences on antioxidant plasma status in humans. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52(21), 6503-6509. Available on-line at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf0346861