Health biomarkers in a rat model after intake of organically grown carrots
M. M. Jensen1*, H. Jorgensen1, U. Halekoh2, B. Watzl3, K. Thorup-Kristensen4 and C. Lauridsen1
Background: Organic food is perceived as being of better quality and healthier than conventional foods although the scientific research on organic foodstuffs is highly contradictory. The aim of the present study was to investigate if intake of carrots from four different cultivation systems grown in two consecutive years would influence various biomarkers of health in a rat model. All rats were fed a diet with 40% carrot content. The carrots were grown under conventional (C), ‘minimalistic’ organic (O1), organic (O2), or ‘very’ organic cultivation systems (O3). A control group (CO) being fed standard rat chow was included.
Results: The plasma α-tocopherol concentration was higher in the O2 carrot-based diet group than in the C carrot based-diet group in one year, while all other health biomarkers or nutrient content differences were observed between the CO diet and the carrot-based diets.
Conclusions: This well-controlled field study demonstrated no clear influence of cultivation methods or harvest year on the nutritional quality of carrots or effect of cultivation methods on health-related biomarkers in a sensitive rat model. However, the experimental set-up and selected biomarkers could be used as a framework for further studies of health in relation to organic foodstuff.
OACC Editor's Note: The three organic treatments (O1, O2 and O3) employed in this study had increasing use of fertility-building crops (undersown legume green manures and autumn catch crops) for nutrient management and intercrops to increase biodiversity and natural mechanisms for pest regulation. The O1 treatment was similar to the conventional treatment, but used organic fertilizers and no pesticides. O2 and O3 increasingly used fertility buliding crops and intercrops in the rotations.
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (2012) 92: 2936-2943
Author Locations and Affiliations
(1) Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, 8830 Tjele, Denmark
(2) Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, 8830 Tjele, Denmark
(3) Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, Max Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, Karlsruhe, Germany
(4) Department of Horticulture, Aarhus University, 5792 Aarslev, Denmark
* Corresponding author, E-mail Maja.Jacobsen@agrsci.dk
Posted May 2012