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Horticulturae, Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2016) – 3 articles

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Communication
Organic and Conventional Produce in the U.S.: Examining Safety and Quality, Economic Values, and Consumer Attitudes
Horticulturae 2016, 2(2), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae2020005 - 05 May 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2722
Abstract
Organic agriculture is an industry sector that has been experiencing steady global growth in recent years. The United States is ranked first in organic food consumption, followed by Germany and France. In 2014, the estimated market value of organic foods in the U.S. [...] Read more.
Organic agriculture is an industry sector that has been experiencing steady global growth in recent years. The United States is ranked first in organic food consumption, followed by Germany and France. In 2014, the estimated market value of organic foods in the U.S. was $42 billion; 43% of this total was attributed to produce (fruits and vegetables). Organic production systems in the U.S. must adhere to National Organic Program (NOP) standards that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices. These standards promote the recycling of resources and ecological balance while conserving biodiversity. While the U.S. organic produce sector is steadily expanding, many questions related to price, safety, nutritional quality, and consumer preference remain. This paper will provide comparisons and insights in the following areas: (1) the economic contribution and impact of the organic produce market; (2) the U.S. National Organic Standards and requirements, as well as the certification process; (3) the nutritional quality and safety of organic produce; (4) consumer attitudes and preferences regarding organic produce; and (5) future research directions and developments for the organic produce industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality Management of Organic Horticultural Produce)
Review
Effect of Organic Production Systems on Quality and Postharvest Performance of Horticultural Produce
Horticulturae 2016, 2(2), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae2020004 - 06 Apr 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2542
Abstract
Organic standards include a well-defined set of practices and a list of technical tools that are permitted by regulation. Organic products are mainly purchased for their safety and absence of synthetic pesticide residues. Furthermore, a diet based on organic products claims to provide [...] Read more.
Organic standards include a well-defined set of practices and a list of technical tools that are permitted by regulation. Organic products are mainly purchased for their safety and absence of synthetic pesticide residues. Furthermore, a diet based on organic products claims to provide health benefits due to the high nutritional value compounds that are more concentrated in organic products compared to conventional ones. As the scientific basis of the differences between organically- and conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables is under debate, some of the published work, together with some recent unpublished results, will be covered in the present review. In addition, the effect of different approaches to organic horticultural production will be described. Many studies have confirmed lower nitrate content, especially in leafy vegetables, and higher antioxidant compounds in organically-grown fruits in comparison to conventional ones. A recent study reported organic kiwifruit as higher in ascorbic acid and total phenol content than conventional kiwifruit. These differences were maintained throughout cold storage. Similarly, in organic grapes, antioxidant-related compounds were significantly higher than in conventionally-grown grapes. Analogous results were obtained with organic strawberries grown in protected conditions. However, conventional products usually result in higher moisture content, and this should be taken into account to confirm the differences on a dry matter basis. Possible explanations for the effects of organic farming practices on nutritional quality and postharvest performance of fresh produce are the following: (i) organic amendments provide a high input of exogenous organic matter and of nutrients for a long period; in contrast, mineral fertilizers, allowed only in conventional farming systems, are highly concentrated in nutrients that are directly available for root uptake in a shorter time period; (ii) the use of synthetic pesticides (only possible in conventional agriculture) slows down defence mechanisms against pathogens, with the consequence of favoring primary metabolism; (iii) cultural practices may result in different plant composition and nutritional quality, which in turn influence cold storage performance of the products as these differences, both in fertility and pest management, affect the allocation of secondary plant metabolites (such as ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality Management of Organic Horticultural Produce)
Review
Bioherbicides in Organic Horticulture
Horticulturae 2016, 2(2), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae2020003 - 29 Mar 2016
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 3555
Abstract
Organic horticulture producers rank weeds as one of their most troublesome, time-consuming, and costly production problems. With the increasing significance of organic horticulture, the need for new bioherbicides to control weeds has grown. Potential bioherbicides may be developed from pathogens, natural products, and [...] Read more.
Organic horticulture producers rank weeds as one of their most troublesome, time-consuming, and costly production problems. With the increasing significance of organic horticulture, the need for new bioherbicides to control weeds has grown. Potential bioherbicides may be developed from pathogens, natural products, and extracts of natural materials. Fungal and bacteria pathogens are two important types of microbial agents that have potential to be used as bioherbicides. The byproducts of natural sources such as dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten meal (CGM), and mustard seed meals (MSMs) have shown herbicidal activities in controlling many weed species. Some essential oil extracts have shown bioherbicide potential as well. The efficacy of a bioherbicide is the main limiting factor for its application, and it may be affected by environmental factors such as humidity and moisture, the application method, the spectrum of the bioherbicide, and the type of formulation. In addition to efficacy, costs and concerns about potential human health threats are also limitations to bioherbicide use. As the integration of bioherbicide technology into current weed management systems may help manage herbicide resistance, reduce production costs, and increase crop yields, future research should involve the development of more cost-effective and efficient bioherbicides for control of weeds, as well as the optimization of production methods and cultural practices with use of candidate bioherbicides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Horticulture)
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