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Composition of commercially produced organic and conventional strawberries

Tõnu Tõnutare (Department of Horticulture, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia)
Kati Keert (Department of Horticulture, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia)
Lech Szajdak (Institute for Agriculture and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland)
Ulvi Moor (Department of Horticulture, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 10 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine differences in taste-related and bioactive compounds of organically (OR) and conventionally (CONV) cultivated commercially produced strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.). Addresses the question if the consumers buying OR strawberries are likely to purchase fruits with better taste and richer in bioactive compounds than those buying CONV fruits.

Design/methodology/approach

Only information commonly available to the consumers [cultivar, quality class, product origin (country) and eco-labelling], was considered in selecting experimental material. “Polka” strawberries from 14 farms (7 OR and 7 CONV) from South Estonia were used for analyses.

Findings

No evidence was found that OR strawberries contain more bioactive compounds or have higher soluble solids content and titratable acids ratio (associated with better taste) compared to CONV strawberries. There were significant differences in content of total phenolics, anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, total antioxidant capacity, titratable acids and soluble solids between strawberries from individual farms irrespective of cultivation system.

Research limitations/implications

Our study was limited to strawberry “Polka” and some other cultivars might response differently to production systems.

Social implications

Consumers get information that by choosing an organic product in the marketplace, it is not guaranteed that this product has higher content of bioactive compounds.

Originality/value

Comparative studies of organic and conventional products are preferably performed with products grown at the same location with the same amount of nutrients etc. However, information of production site’s microclimate, soil texture or the amount of plant available nutrients is never available to the consumers. Therefore, our consumer-oriented approach might be valuable.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The current research was supported by the Estonian Science Foundation Grant No 7515 and target-financed research project SF0170057s09.

Citation

Tõnutare, T., Keert, K., Szajdak, L. and Moor, U. (2014), "Composition of commercially produced organic and conventional strawberries", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 562-575. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-12-2013-0151

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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