The issue of differences in nutritional quality between organically and
conventionally managed crops is a distraction... the real issue is
"what are the factors that impact the nutritional quality of food plants".
The Soil Quality issue Volume 7 (1&2) of the American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture included an article by Sharon Hornick titled
"Factors effecting Nutritional Quality of Plants". This article is a good
foundation for starting to think about the impact of
inherent soil properties (e.g. texture, clay mineralogy), variable
soil properties (e.g. organic matter content) and crop/soil
management practices (e.g. fertilization, tillage...) on crop nutritional
A more recent article in the same journal Volume 12 (2) titled
"Suppression of VAM fungi and micronutrient uptake by low-level P
fertilization in long-term wheat rotations" by Clapperton, M. J., Janzen,
H.H. and A.M. Johnston provides a clear example of how modification of
soil ecology associated from P fertilization can reduce the micronutrient
content of wheat.
Another interesting article is "Enrichment of some B-vitamins in plants
with applications of organic fertilizers" by A. Mozofar in Plant and Soil
Volume 167 pages 305-311.
The biotic and abiotic factors that impact crop nutritional quality are at
work in both organic and conventional systems... rather than distracting
ourselves with largely meaningless monolithic comparisons... lets focus on
the mechanisms/factors that either promote or impede a plant's
expression of its genetic potential for nutritional quality.
Center for Agriculture, Food and Environment
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