Organic tomatoes higher in antioxidants
Organic tomatoes contain higher levels of antioxidants than their conventional counterparts, a 10-year study at the University of California shows.
The conclusions from previous studies have been unreliable, said lead researcher Alyson Mitchell, because of differences in soil quality, irrigation practices and handling methods after harvest. But farming techniques were standardized for this study so researchers could compare tomatoes to tomatoes.
The study found that the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol were 79 percent and 97 percent higher, respectively, in the organic tomatoes. Mitchell said the study also found that the longer a field was managed organically, the greater the difference was in flavonoid content. The researchers said plants produce flavonoids in response to a nutritional deficiency, so when conventional growers apply a nitrogen-based fertilizer, it limits the plants' need to produce flavonoids.
Senators make buzz for pollinators research
Almost $90 million in federal funding is destined for bee research if legislation introduced by three U.S. senators in June passes. The money would help the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigate the cause of colony collapse disorder, which has killed or severely weakened hundreds of thousands of beehives across the United States in the past six months. According to the bill's cosponsor, Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., crops nationwide that depend on bee populations are valued near $18 billion.
Organic Summit reopens dialogue
More than 200 leaders from an array of organic industry sectors gathered to discuss the future of the industry at the inaugural Organic Summit June 20 to 22 in Boulder, Colo. Sponsored by New Hope Natural Media, parent company to The Natural Foods Merchandiser, and the Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Organic Farming Research Foundation, the summit focused on staying vigilant about organic regulations and supporting more research.
Industry unity was a pervasive theme, with speakers and panelists calling for a recommitment to more constructive problem-solving methods. "Let's re-seed, re-soil and re-soul the organic industry and mentor the next generation of organic leaders," said Whole Foods Market's president and chief operating officer Walter Robb in his keynote address.
OFRF Executive Director Bob Scowcroft said, "Ultimately, we fulfilled the [summit's] goal by serving as a catalyst to open and civil discourse for the betterment of organic in the future."
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 11