Organic tomatoes contain higher concentrations of vitamin C, sugars, and certain beneficial antioxidant compounds — such as lycopene — than those grown on conventional farms, new research shows.
The findings, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE, indicate tomatoes grown on organic farms are approximately 40 percent smaller than those grown by conventional techniques.
That may partly explain the higher levels of concentration and accumulation of the beneficial compounds, which have been linked to stress reduction.
Lead researcher Maria Raquel Alcantara Miranda and colleagues from the Federal University of Ceara, Brazil, found that organic farming techniques also place greater stress on tomato plants than conventional methods that may account for the differences in biochemical properties in organics and the higher levels of vitamin C and lycopene.
Past studies have associated both compounds with a biological response and resistance to stress.
Miranda said the findings suggest farmers should adopt growing strategies for fruits and vegetables that balance boosting nutritional values with efforts to maximize yield and fruit size.
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