Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Robert E. Ward


Robert E. Ward


Silvana Martini


Karin Allen


The worldwide demand for organic produce has been on the rise in recent years. This is a result of consumer concerns about the environment and chemicals used in food production. In addition, consumers have demonstrated that they are willing to pay premium prices for organic produce based on the general assumption that organic produce is more nutritious, environmentally friendly, and better-tasting. There have been several studies that have reported significant differences with organic and conventionally grown produce. Organic fruits and vegetables have been shown to have higher dry matter, antioxidants. In addition, it has also been shown to be smaller in size and to have fewer residues of harmful chemical compounds. On the other hand, other studies have shown no difference in the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables from organic and conventional production methods. As the data have been inconsistent, there is no consensus on whether organic products have better or worse overall quality. Nonetheless, the chemicals used in conventional treatments may adversely affect the health of the local environment. On other hand, organic fertilizers are not thought to be as ecologically harmful, and repeated application is not needed making it financially desirable on a long run.

The goal of the project was to assess a series of innovative treatment combinations on peach fruit quality. Through this research, we expect to have a better understanding of the different management techniques which will help us yield optimal fruit quality and hence additional incentives for the growers.

This experiment is aimed at evaluating the quality of peaches grown under six different organic treatments and 5 different conventional treatments. Peaches were harvested over four different harvest dates to determine the effect of time of cultivation on peach quality. Several different physicochemical attributes of peaches were evaluated. Upon statistical analysis of quality of peaches grown using six different organic treatments, no difference in the quality of peaches was seen. Similarly, no difference was seen in quality attributes of peaches cultivated under five different conventional treatments. Moreover, peaches harvested early (typically dates 1 and 2) had higher values for the above mentioned attributes.