Metal Concentrations in Organic/Conventional Wheat

Abstract: The effects of organic versus conventional crop management practices (crop rotation, crop protection, and fertility management strategies) on wheat yields and grain metal (Al, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) concentrations were investigated in a long-term field trial. The interactions between crop management practices and the season that the crop was grown were investigated using univariate and redundancy analysis approaches. Grain yields were highest where conventional fertility management and crop protection practices were used, but growing wheat after a previous crop of grass/clover was shown to partially compensate for yield reductions due to the use of organic fertility management. All metals except for Pb were significantly affected by crop management practices and the year that the wheat was grown. Grain Cd and Cu levels were higher on average when conventional fertility management practices were used. Al and Cu were higher on average when conventional crop protection practices were used. The results demonstrate that there is potential to manage metal concentrations in the diet by adopting specific crop management practices shown to affect crop uptake of metals.

Reference: Cooper, Julia et. al. (2011). Effect of organic and conventional crop rotation, fertilization, and crop production practices on metal contents in wheat (Triticum aestivum). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59(9): 4715-4724. Available online at: