Testing Nutritional Qualities of Organic Foods in Rats

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Many consumers perceive organic foods as more nutritious than conventional foods. However, the existing evidence is insufficient to support or refute this belief. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of three different model cultivation systems on selected major and trace element contents of dried foodstuffs (carrots, kale, peas, potatoes and apples) grown in two consecutive years, as well as mineral retention determined in 36 rats (second generation in a multi-generation study) fed diets based on these foodstuffs from one year. RESULTS: Overall, there was no evident trend towards differences in element content of foodstuffs or diets due to the use of different cultivation systems, and differences between harvest years exceeded those seen between cultivation methods. Also, no significant differences in the retention of elements in rats fed diets derived from different cultivation systems were seen, since higher intake resulted in correspondingly higher excretion. CONCLUSION: This study does not support the belief that organically grown foodstuffs generally contain more major and trace elements than conventionally grown foodstuffs, nor does there appear to be an effect on the bioavailability of major and trace minerals in rats. © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry.

Reference: Kristensen, M., et. al. (2008). Effect of plant cultivation methods on content of major and trace elements in foodstuffs and retention in rats. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 88(12): 2161-2172. Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.3328