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Organic agriculture: Does it enhance or reduce the nutritional value of plant foods?

Brandt, Kirsten and Mølgaard, Jens Peter (2001) Organic agriculture: Does it enhance or reduce the nutritional value of plant foods? Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 81, pp. 924-931.

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Summary

The possible differences between organic and conventional plant products are examined from the view of possible effects on human health. It is concluded that nutritionally important differences relating to contents of minerals, vitamins, protein and carbohydrates are not likely, primarily since neither of these are deficient in typical first world diets, nor are present levels of pesticide residues in conventional products cause for concern. However, there is reason to believe that contents of many defence related secondary metabolites in the diet are lower than optimal for human health, even for those where too high levels are known to be harmful. High biological activity resulting in adverse effects on growth of animals and children may be directly linked with promotion of longevity. There is ample, but circumstantial, evidence than on average organic vegetables and fruit most likely contain more of these compounds than conventional ones, allowing for the possibility that organic plant foods may in fact benefit human health more than corresponding conventional ones. The authors define testable scientific hypotheses, which should be further investigated to provide more definitive answers to the question.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Human health, plant foods, cultivation systems, secondary metabolites
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > III.4 (OrganicHealth) Organic food and health - a multigeneration animal experiment
Denmark > DARCOF I (1996-2001) > VI Synthesis of knowledge and researcher education
Deposited By: Brandt, Dr. Kirsten
ID Code:116
Deposited On:08 Oct 2002
Last Modified:03 Dec 2013 15:40
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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