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Research at Great Lakes meeting shows more vitamin C in organic oranges than conventional oranges

MINNEAPOLIS, June 2 Organically-grown oranges contain up to 30% more vitamin C than those grown conventionally, it was reported today at a Great Lakes Regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

The Great Lakes meeting is being held at the Radisson Hotel Metrodome June 2-4 and more than 400 scientists and students are expected to attend. This research paper is being presented in Memorial Hall of the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota. Theo Clark, a visiting chemistry professor at Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo), reported the finding based on work done by him and a group of undergraduate students. He said he decided to conduct the analysis because of a lack of analytical information about the nutritional content of organically-grown produce.

"Quite often, organic goods come from smaller farms that market their goods with provocative labels such as healthy,' delicious,' or natural'," he said. "These statements are generally made without reference to any comparable standards." Clark added that he chose oranges to begin the assessment because they are high-profile fruits. "The orange is the traditional source of vitamin C, and it is highly commercialized, but no one to our knowledge has thought to compare the organic and conventionally-grown oranges."

Conventional oranges are larger than organically-grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," said Clark. But to his surprise, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that the organically-grown oranges contained 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally-grown fruits even though they were only about half the size.

Clark said the reason for the added nutritional punch isn't clear, but "we speculate that with conventional oranges, (farmers) use nitrogen fertil
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Contact: Sharon Worthy
s_worthy@acs.org
202-872-4371
American Chemical Society
2-Jun-2002


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