BACKGROUND: Environmental as well as cultivation factors may greatly influence the chemical composition of plants. The main factors affecting the chemical composition of foodstuff are level and type of fertilizer (conventional and organic cultivation systems), location or soil type, and year of harvest. Organic foods are defined as products that are produced under controlled cultivation conditions characterized by the absence of synthetic fertilisers and very restricted use of pesticides. Very limited information is available regarding the impact of organic cultivation systems on the composition of carbohydrates and fatty acids of fruits and vegetables. The objective was to investigate the influence of organic and conventional cultivation systems on the carbohydrate and fatty acid composition and digestibility of the energy of apple, carrot, kale, pea, potato, and rape seed oil.
RESULTS: Carbohydrate and lignin values ranged from 584 g kg−1 dry matter in kale to 910 g kg−1 DM in potato, but with significant differences in the proportion of sugars, starch, non-starch polysaccharides, and lignin between the foodstuffs. Triacylglycerol was the major lipid class in pea, with 82% of total fatty acids, as opposed to apple, with only 35% of fatty acids of the ether extract. The most important factor influencing the digestibility of energy, and consequently faecal bulking, was the content of dietary fibre.
CONCLUSION: The cultivation system had minor impact on the carbohydrate and lipid composition in the investigated foodstuffs or on the digestibility of energy when assessed in the rat model. Faecal bulking was related to dietary fibre in a linear fashion. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry