Tomatoes grown organically accumulate higher concentrations of vitamin C, lycopene and sugars, compared to those grown with traditional farming and researchers have put it all down to stressful growth conditions.
In their study, Maria Raquel Alcantara Miranda and colleagues from the Federal University of Ceara, Brazil, compared the weights and biochemical properties of tomatoes from organic and conventional farms.
They found that tomatoes grown on organic farms were approximately 40 percent smaller than those grown by conventional techniques, and they also accumulated more compounds linked to stress resistance.
According to the authors, organic farming exposes plants to greater stress than conventional farming.
They suggest that this increased stress may be the reason organic tomatoes had higher levels sugars, vitamin C and pigment molecules like lycopene, an anti-oxidant compound - all of which are associated with the biological response to stress.
Based on these observations, the authors suggest that growing strategies for fruits and vegetables should aim to balance plant stress with efforts to maximize yield and fruit size, rather than trying to eliminate stress to increase yields.
The study was recently published in the open access journal PLOS ONE. (ANI)