BACKGROUND: Organic crops are often thought to contain more phenolic secondary metabolites than conventional ones. This study evaluated the influence of organic and conventional farming on concentrations of phenolic acids in spring and winter wheat cultivars.
RESULTS: Five phenolic acids were identified: ferulic, sinapic, p-coumaric, vanillic and p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Ferulic acid was the main phenolic acid in the grain of all tested wheat varieties. Significant differences among the examined cultivars in concentration of particular compounds were observed. Concentrations of phenolic acids varied significantly in organic and conventional wheat. Levels of ferulic and p-coumaric acids, as well as the total phenolic acid content were higher in organic crops. Concentrations of sinapic acid in spring wheat, as well as vanillic and p-hydroxybenzoic acid levels in both types of wheat were significantly higher in conventional grains. The 1000 kernel weight (TKW) of spring and winter wheat was significantly lower in organic crops.
CONCLUSION: Organically produced spring and winter wheat had significantly higher concentrations of ferulic and p-coumaric acid as well as the total phenolic acid content than conventional wheat, though the differences in the levels of phenolics were not large. However, these differences are probably caused mainly by smaller size of organic wheat kernels (lower TKW). Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry