Sensory, yield and quality differences between organically and conventionally grown winter wheat


  • Part of this paper was presented as a poster with abstract at the First International Conference on Organic Food Quality and Health Research in Prague, Czech Republic, 18–20 May 2011.


BACKGROUND: Consumers expect organic produce to have higher environmental, health and sensory related qualities than conventional produce. In order to test sensory differences between bio-dynamically, bio-organically and conventionally grown winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L., cv. Runal), we performed double-blinded triangle tests with two panels on dry wholemeal flour from the harvest years 2006, 2007 and 2009 and from two field replicates of the ‘DOK’ long-term farming system comparison field trial near Basel, Switzerland. Yield and quality parameters were also assessed.

RESULTS: Significant farming system effects were found for yield (up to 42% reduction in the organic system), thousand kernel weight, hectolitre weight and crude protein content across the three years. In the triangle tests one out of 12 pair-wise farming system comparisons (PFSCs) on wholemeal flour made from the different wheat samples showed significant sensory differentiation (between bio-dynamically and conventionally grown wheat). When all data from the three harvest years and two panels were aggregated, a statistically significant effect (P = 0.045) of PFSCs on the number of correct answers became evident.

CONCLUSIONS: Although testing of dry wholemeal flour was very challenging for panellists, we were able to show that sensory differences between farming systems can occur. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry