60-Second Science

Organic Strawberries Beat Conventionally Grown in Test Plots

In side-by-side plots of strawberries grown organically or conventionally, the organic berries had more vitamin C and the soil was more biologically active. Molly Webster reports

Some consumers buy organically grown foods because they believe the products are healthier, tastier and better for the environment. But is this assessment true?

To find out, a group of U.S.-based scientists looked at strawberries. For the study, the researchers analyzed 13 plots of organic strawberries and conventional strawberries grown side by side. They found that the organic strawberries contained 10 percent more Vitamin C and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts. The organic strawberries were smaller on average than conventional berries, but each piece of organic fruit actually contained more dry matter—the meat, if you will, of the berry. The organic berries also had a longer shelf-life.

And finally, a soil analysis showed that the organic plots contained more microorganisms than conventional acreage. So, the study adds some scientific evidence to the belief that organic berries are healthier, tastier and more environmentally sound. The findings are published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE. [John Reganold,] Researchers believe that combining organic methods with some conventional agricultural practices will provide the produce of the future.

—Molly Webster

[John Reganold is a member of Scientific American's board of advisors.]

[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

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