Organic Production Increases Antioxidant Levels and Sensory Quality of Mandarin Orange Juice
Spain is the second leading producer in the world of mandarin oranges, and the main supplier of mandarin oranges and juice moving through international markets. A team of Spanish scientists grew conventional and organic oranges on the same farm, using the same irrigation methods and variety of tree. The study was carefully designed to eliminate or control other sources of variation in the nutrient and sensory quality parameters addressed by the team.
The conventional blocks of oranges were treated with up to nine herbicides and four insecticides. Weeds were controlled in the organic trees with cultivation, and insects were controlled with neem oil and pheromone traps.
Interestingly, the team reported few differences between the conventional and organic oranges at the time of picking, although the organic fruit was marginally smaller and contained 13% more Vitamin C. But in the juice, the team reports that organically grown mandarin oranges produces juice that:
- Is more intensely colored, and has a superior aroma and taste,
- Contains higher levels of all eight minerals studied (in three cases by 50% or more),
- Has a 40% higher concentration of total carotenoids (Vitamin A).
Source: F. Beltran-Gonzalez et al., “Effects of agricultural practices on instrumental colour, mineral content, carotenoids composition, and sensory quality of mandarin orange juice, cv. Hernandina,” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2008