Superior nutrient content reported in organic blueberries
The Bluecrop variety of highbush blueberries were grown on five organic and conventional farms in New Jersey. The farms shared comparable soils and weather conditions, and the berries were harvested in precisely the same way.
The scientists carrying out the study are based at the USDA’s Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, and at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The team found consistent and significant differences in nutrient content. The organic blueberries contained 46 ORAC units, a measure of total antioxidant capacity, while the conventional berries contained 31 ORAC units. Accordingly, the organic berries had over 50% more total antioxidant activity. They also contained about 50% higher levels of total anthocyanins, the natural plant phytochemicals that give blueberries their dark color. The organic blueberries also had 67% more total phenolics.
The authors’ concluding sentence reads: “Blueberries produced from organic culture contained significantly higher amounts of phytonutrients than those produced from conventional culture.”
Source: S.H. Wang et al., “Fruit Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, and Flavonoid Content of Organically and Conventionally Grown Blueberries,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published on web July 1, 2008.