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Organic and more nutritious

Daniel BuenoResearch conducted at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) has shown that organically grown tomatoes have a higher amount of antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols and vitamin C compared to those produced by traditional agriculture. “The stress endured by the organically grown plant has a positive influence on the accumulation of soluble solids and the synthesis of secondary metabolites, which aid its defense mechanism and contribute to its nutritional value,” says Aurelice Oliveira, a researcher who conducted the study for her doctoral thesis, under the guidance of Professor Raquel Miranda of UFC’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Vitamin C concentrations in organic tomatoes were 55% higher in the mature fruit in comparison to traditionally grown tomatoes. “Polyphenols, for example, prevent lipid peroxidation by combating free radicals,” says Oliveira. She says that conventionally grown plants already have all the resources they need to develop, such as fertilizers, while in plants grown with the organic method, the nutrient compost that is used delays metabolization, which creates stress. One of the analyses performed to determine the degree of cell oxidation in the fruit, called lipid peroxidation, proved that organic growing creates more stress than conventional methods. The study was published in the February 2013 online edition of the journal PLoS One.