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Digital archive of theses discussed at the University of Pisa


Thesis etd-11282008-121409

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
email address
Thesis title
Quality comparison of organic and conventional wheat by use of common and holistic methods of analysis
Academic discipline
Course of study
Relatore Prof. Mazzoncini, Marco
  • biocrystallisation
  • food quality
  • holistic methods
  • sensory analysis
  • wheat
Graduation session start date
The market for organic food is strongly growing. There are many reasons why consumers buy products from organic agriculture. Some reasons are attributed to the product quality as well as to the assumption about the production process used in organic agriculture. Organic food stands for a sustainable and socially acceptable production. In addition, the desire for a healthy nutrition is important. So in summary consumers chose organic products because they trust in a number of attributes related to the product itself and it’s production process.
During the last years, food scandals developed in conventional agriculture as well as in organic agriculture. Therefore the consumers lost some of their confidence in organic products. With a growing production the risk for more scandals might be rising. Thus emerged a need for methods, which can examine the quality of organically produced food (authenticity examination) and compare it with the quality of conventional products.
In such comparison studies it is of particular importance to use a possibly wide range of analysis methods, because the quality differences due to the farming system can appear in crops in various forms – in the contents of singular compounds, as well as in the structural features, which only can be analyzed on the whole product (Kokornaczyk et al., 2008). Therefore, the common and holistic methods of analysis have been united in the current research in order to receive complementary information about the given samples.
The aim of the research was to examine and compare the quality of the organically and conventionally grown grain samples. The samples derived from the Mediterranean Arable System Comparison Trial (MASCOT) in Italian Toscana, a long-term experiment launched in 2001 and carried out at the Interdepartmental Centre for Agri-environmental Research “E. Avanzi” (CIRAA) of the University of Pisa.
The choice of the applied analysis methods was based on the founds available in literature. The organically and conventionally grown wheat often differs in total protein content, which depends on the availability of N and is also an important indicator of the technological quality of grain (Alföldi et al., 2006). The content of carotenoids, which belong to the secondary plant metabolites, was found to differ in organic and conventional crops because of the different growth conditions, like exposure to pests and diseases (Alföldi et al., 2006). Many studies were conducted on the antioxidants contents present in different wheat varieties (Zhou et al., 2004; Adom et al., 2003). But to our knowledge there is still limited literature on the contents of antioxidants in wheat samples deriving from differently managed farming systems. Studies indicate that holistic methods, such as biocrystallization, are especially suitable for authenticity tests of organic produce, hence a validation of these methods has been demanded (Siderer et al., 2005).