Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Robert E. Ward

Abstract

The demand for organic produce is based on a general belief that organically grown produce is more nutritious than conventionally cultivated produce. To date, there have been several studies both supporting and contradicting these assumptions and at this point there is no clear consensus. However, there has been one accepted and appreciated aspect of the organic cultivation, which is, that it renders the soil more suitable for long-term cultivation and improves the ecological aspect of producing produce. For this reason, in the long term organic farming may be both economically and ecologically more desirable. The focus of this project as a whole is to study conventional and organic methods for peach cultivation to better understand them and to determine the most economically and ecologically desirable method of peach cultivation in Utah. This specific experiment involved evaluating physicochemical properties of peaches grown under 6 different organic treatments (peaches grown in a certified organic orchard using six different organic treatments) and cultivated using 5 different conventional treatments (peaches grown in a conventional orchard). Peaches were harvested on four different harvest dates to determine the effect of time of cultivation on peach fruit quality. Several different quality attributes of peaches were evaluated. Peaches cultivated under six different organic treatments were statistically compared to determine the difference in their quality attributes. Similarly, peaches cultivated under five different conventional treatments were compared statistically to determine the difference in their quality attributes. Effect of organic treatment on peach quality was not statistically compared with the effect of conventional treatment on peach quality as both treatments were used in separate orchards. No significant differences were observed in quality attributes of either variety of peaches subjected to 6 different organic treatments, nor were any differences observed amongst peaches subjected to 5 different conventional treatments. Moreover, it was observed that peaches harvested on early dates (typically 1 and 2) had more desirable quality attributes. It is interesting that the treatments affected peach growth and development, and future work will involve a correlation with sensory, and volatile analysis.

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