December 2, 2011
BARCELONAKetchup made from organically grown tomatoes contains higher levels of polyphenols than ketchup made from conventional tomatoes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The findings suggest the agricultural system in which tomatoes are grown affects the levels of bioactive compounds and other metabolites found in commercially available ketchups.
Researchers at the University of Barcelona conducted a biochemical and metabolomic analysis of a range of branded ketchups to see if different agricultural management models, comprising a range of cultivation and fertilization techniques that vary between organic and conventional crops, can affect the nutrient content of agricultural and commercial products.
The researchers were able to make the first observations of differences in biomarkers between commercial ketchups made from organic and conventional tomatoes. They concluded that polyphenols are the main differential markers between products containing organically or conventionally grown tomatoes.
The results show ketchup made from organically grown tomatoes contains higher levels of the polyphenolic compounds flavonols, flavanones and phenolic acids, biomolecules with antioxidant properties and protective effects in the human body. In contrast, ketchup made from conventional tomatoes shows higher levels of nitrogen compounds, essential for the synthesis of proteins and other biomolecules.
The researchers stated the techniques used in the cultivation of ecological cropsin which the plant does not receive any artificial nutrientscould activate natural defense mechanisms, increasing levels of polyphenols in the fruit.
The fact that conventional crops are fertilized with soluble nitrogen could explain why larger quantities of nitrogen-rich biomolecules are detected, which are fundamental in the synthesis of amino acids and proteins," they said.
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