Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The quality of food dependent on agricultural production method

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 
food quality, organic agriculture, secondary metabolites, pesticide residues, animal feeding tests
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (26)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  13825  Marjana Babič  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  354 
2.  05085  PhD Franc Bavec  Plant production  Researcher  2007 - 2010  913 
3.  10142  PhD Martina Bavec  Plant production  Head  2007 - 2010  995 
4.  14488  PhD Avrelija Cencič  Biotechnology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  458 
5.  12815  PhD Zdenka Cencič Kodba  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  196 
6.  11233  PhD Marjeta Čandek Potokar  Animal production  Researcher  2007 - 2010  784 
7.  14047  Dunja Faletič  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2007  10 
8.  27553  PhD Milojka Fekonja  Plant production  Junior researcher  2007 - 2010  41 
9.  19992  PhD Silva Grobelnik Mlakar  Plant production  Researcher  2007 - 2010  388 
10.  18909  Bogdana Jeretin  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  82 
11.  03473  MSc Venčeslav Lapajne  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  706 
12.  19217  MSc Boštjan Mlakar  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2007 - 2010  155 
13.  22514  PhD Karmen Pažek  Plant production  Researcher  2007 - 2010  606 
14.  27890  PhD Maja Prevolnik Povše  Animal production  Junior researcher  2007 - 2010  258 
15.  22226  PhD Martina Robačer  Plant production  Researcher  2009 - 2010  247 
16.  19348  PhD Črtomir Rozman  Plant production  Researcher  2007 - 2010  633 
17.  29301  Zoran Simonović  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2008 - 2010  192 
18.  03154  PhD Metka Slekovec  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  62 
19.  01364  PhD Dejan Škorjanc  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2007 - 2010  435 
20.  12323  PhD Darinka Štajnbaher  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  207 
21.  29564  PhD Matjaž Turinek  Plant production  Junior researcher  2008 - 2010  105 
22.  12324  MSc Karl Turk  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2007 - 2010  152 
23.  29652  Vesna Viher Hrženjak  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2010  96 
24.  09472  PhD Marko Volk  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2007 - 2010  462 
25.  08838  PhD Ernest Vončina  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  386 
26.  28411  MSc Marko Žuljan    Researcher  2007 - 2010  11 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  48,404 
2.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  20,078 
3.  0482  University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences  Hoče  5089638004  9,921 
Differences among organic (EKO), integrated (IP) and conventional (KONV) production systems (including genetically manipulated organisms) and their influences on food quality are not investigated sufficiently. The aim of research project is evaluation of different agriculture production methods on food quality parameters. Comparison the internal quality parameters of selected vegetable and field crops in different agricultural systems (EKO, IP, KONV) will be based on three years field experiments. Beside yield and yield components investigations will be focused in determining the content of internal substances which have health promoting properties: vitamins, minerals and bioactive phenolic secondary metabolites (especially antioxidants) and in sensory evaluation. Pest attack level in individual plots will be evaluated over growing seasons. Contemporary analytical methods will be used to measure the content of well known health promoting bioactive substances which are specific for selected species. The second part of proposed research project is determination of the agrochemical residues (nitrates, pesticides, heavy metals) in plant products. It is intended to carry out some new alternative methods for estimating food quality: method of biophoton and electrochemical determination of P-value. Storage properties of selected plants dependent on production methods will be investigated by self decomposition test. Preference tests with laboratory animals (mousse or rats) and long life experiment measuring feed consummation, growth rate and evaluation of health status will be executed. In feeding experiments (EKO, KONV) with domestic animals also genetically and environmental influences on quality of carcass and quality classes will be performed using NIR spectroscopy and neuron nets. By two epidemical studies health status of people exposed to pesticides during long term working period will be compared to control groups and measuring of selected pesticides and metabolites in the urine of people eating organic food compared to conventional will be measured. Statistical analysis of acquired results will be performed with appropriate computing programmes In proposed project evaluation of quality of food and feed and also meat will be performed using some innovative methods and in research work developed concepts. Finally, ecological and holistic evaluation of food quality dependent on different production methods will be evaluated.
Significance for science
Consumers in developed agricultural countries have, despite assurance in the security od food, doubts about the quality of conventionally produced food and organically produced food is evermore valued. Consumers are also interested in the inner quality of food and the contents of health promoting constituents in food. All these parameters are not sufficiently explored in the scientific literature in regards to the agricultural production system; such research has not yet been conducted under Slovene conditions. Thus, we studied the influences of different production methods under specific agroecological conditions on the quantity and quality of yields. There is not enough relevant research available regarding the quality of food produced under organic (ORG), integrated (INT) or conventional (CON) production systems; there is even less research in the field of biodynamic (BD) production. The original scientific contribution of the project is shown in yet unexplained influences of production systems on environmental degradation and potential mechanisms of mitigating climate change, where the ecological footprint of the BD system is 6-8 times lower than in the CON system, ecological efficiency of production is 5-6 times higher compared with the CON system. Similar results are also for ORG, but there were no differences among INT and CON production system. The greatest influence was found to be originating from mineral fertilisers and pesticides in the CON and INT system; machinery use needs to be improved in all systems studied. For this part Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) method was used. The procedure was conducted on the SPI (Sustainable Process Index) tool developed by Graz University of Technology. Comparing 4 different agricultural production systems based on LCA was not found in researched literature. Sensory properties of fresh red beet and cabbage samples for consumers depending on production systems were so far not researched, either. Thus, in this project, consumers evaluated red beet samples from BD plots higher than those from CON plots; highest scores were given to samples from INT production, where there are no great deviations between the other production systems. Connecting metabolic and defense processes in a plant and the content of some primary and secondary metabolites depending on particular production systems in red beet presents an original contribution towards understanding the interaction between soils and plants. Significantly highest values of phenolic compounds (0.68 and 0.67 mg g-1 FW GAE), the antioxsidative activity (1.270 and 1.232 µM TE g-1 FW) and malic acid (2.03 and 2.39 g kg-1) in the BD and control systems show an active defense of the plant from diseases and pests and an interaction with the soil flora and fauna. There is not much known on the influence of organic husbandry on the quality of meat. Research findings are often also contradictory. In our research we discovered and confirmed, that organic husbandry as such has no direct influence, but that the influence is expressed in dependance (and interaction) on the genotype and/or fodder used, through effects on growth parameters, etc. We discovered, that pigglets in organic husbandry had, despite not as good fattening parameters and consequentually lower weight and fat content at the time of slaughter, higher contents of intramuscular fat, which influence on the better sensory quality of meat is well known. Results of this research show the organic husbandry of pigs from another perspective and hint towards some possible problems, connected to the requirements of this husbandry system. The hypothesis that food from different production systems can have influence on the amount of pesticides in urine was confirmed in the epidemiological study done as a part of this project in Slovenia where such research studies have not been conducted yet.
Significance for the country
Based on ambitious goals of the Action plan for developing organic agriculture in Slovenia until 2015, basic studies concerning differences in food quality based on organic, biodynamic, integrated and conventional production systems have given some answers especially to consumers. This could have an influence on further development of the organic agriculture sector in Slovenia. Also survey from autumn 2009 done by Euromonitor among EU including Slovenian citizens showed strong support to encourage organic farming by Common Agriculture policy (84% and 98% respectively). However, the importance of findings will be even more important in scientific and professional circles and/or communities, where differences between farming systems are still highly disputed and controversial. Arguments for the (un)suitability of organic farming systems for Slovenia are still mainly based on claims (with no reference to findings from studies) and speculations of individuals. Sustainable rearing systems, especially the organic one, awake greater trust towards the quality of such animal and plant products with consumers. There is not much data on the quality of such products in Slovenia, especially scientifically checked ones. In our research we concentrated on two such products, namely on the known brand of beef "Pohorje Beef" and the quality of organically grown pigs. With the Pohorje Beef husbandry we perceived many critical points for a better development of this brand. Moreover, with the research on pigs, the first research of its kind was done in Slovenia, which should be upgraded and supplemented. According to our results we would recommend a similar research with other, more robust, genotypes, f.i. slovene indigenous breed Krškopoljski, and dedicate research also to the type of fodder and method of fodder aquisition. Such data would give a good basis for the development of trademarks according to the schemes of quality for special agricultural products, which are important also from the viewpoint of the competitivness of the agro-food sector. Results also contribute important knowledge in the process of Slovenia's transition towards a self-sufficient and sustainable society, based on renewable sources of energy and materials, which will enable it to survive energy, financial and climate crises of the future. According to the results of the accomplished project, we will not be able to provide sufficient quantities of food in the long term with the current use of resources and energy in the CON and INT systems, which is 6-10 times higher than in the ORG and BD system. On the basis of the projection made, it would be possible to produce enough bread grain, as well as other studied crops, in Slovenia with ORG and BD production, assuming, that the production techniques will improve, land-use policy as well as self-sufficiency policy will change; accordingly, the ecological footprint, energy and resources use would be markedly lowered; in turn, environmental efficiency would increase.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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