Organic Farming Comparison
WTO Trade Agreements Supersede U.S. Environmental Laws
Red Slime in fish products; Pink Slime in ground meats
Roundup, Monsanto's Scientific Fraud
Caspain Sea oil drilling blowout by BP, and others
Ever hundred years California's Mega Flood
BUSH's (neoconservatives) Environmental Record
Artic Melt Down--23% for 07-08
EPA libraries closed tight by Bush
Bush's Envioronmental Record
Gulf Stream flow down 30%
Protecting New Orleans--Scientific American
EU Energy Policies
No More Environmental Cleanups, Superfund is Dry
MERCURY EMISSIONS: environment & legislation
Environmental collapse of Easter Island--Jared Diamond
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More on government priority cartoons
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Organic Farming Comparison
Animal Feed Laws
Bush and the Endanger Species Act
Republicans stop toxic site clean up
Bush's Environmental Record--Al Franken
Pied Piper & Environmental Policy--Hightower
Death stats on first atomic energy experiments
Rabbits cruelly butchered, USDA regulation changed
Meat Consumption and Risk of Colorectal Cancer
LEAD SOLDER--environmental activitism at its worst

Two not surprising conclusions:  A) the nutrient content of organically grown foods are essentially the same as those grown with mineral fertilizers; B) that mineral fertilizers yield both more available minerals for plant growth and a greater yield.  Not surprising because nearly all the nutrients come form the plant’s ability to manufacture them; thus pound for pound organic spinach and inorganic spinach are nearly equal.  Any small difference in the two would depend on which plant grows faster, which is in most instances the one with the mineral fertilizer—which normally bears less of a burden from plant disease and insects--jk.  



Reported in Scientific American October 18, 2006 at http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=0000D361-A2C3-1536-9DDD83414B7F0000


Organic or Conventional? For Wheat, It Might Not Matter

When it comes to nutrition, wheat bread in the organic aisle of the supermarket may be the same as the loaves found in the conventional bread aisle. Although some organic crops have proved more nourishing than their conventional counterparts, wheat--one of the world's biggest cereal crops--shows no difference, according to the results of a new study.

Christian Zörb, a biochemist at Germany's Federal Research Center for Nutrition and Food, and his colleagues analyzed wheat, Triticum aestivum L., grown employing two organic and two conventional methods. For fertilizer, the organic approaches used rotted manure or composted manure with other supplements. The two conventional farming methods differed in whether or not farmyard manure was used to supplement chemical fertilizer. The researchers also had a control plot, which received some manure but was otherwise left alone. Moreover, all the fields underwent the same tillage and crop rotations. Zörb and his colleagues sampled each of these five experimental plots.

The researchers ground the wheat specimens into fine meal to test if the different growing methods had any effect on the nutritional quality of the grain. Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, they isolated and identified 52 of the component chemicals in the samples. Of these nutrients, which included sugars, sugar alcohols, amino acids and organic acids, there was little to no difference in the amount the assorted meals contained. The various farming methods had little impact on the crop's nutritional value, the researchers report in the October 18 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


Overall, studies have delivered mixed results on the question of whether organic crops are as nutritious as conventional crops, but consumers are not necessarily primarily concerned about the nutritional value of the food when they buy organic. "The value of the organic system is the process," says Kathleen Delate, an agronomist at Iowa State University, who was not associated with this study. "People buy it because of the way it is produced," she adds, noting that some people worry about pesticide residue and other chemical impacts. As for nourishment, wheat, apparently, is wheat--no matter how you grow it. --Ciara Curtin




Part of article from Scientific American

May 31, 2002

Organic Farms More Fertile, Study Finds  http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00009157-9E6C-1CFB-93F6809EC5880000&sc=I100322


In 1978 the researchers began studying four plots of land planted with winter wheat, potatoes, beets, grass clover and barley (see image). Farmers cultivated two of these fields conventionally. For the remainder, they utilized organic methods, substituting compost and manure for synthetic fertilizers and using mechanical weeding and plant extracts instead of chemical pesticides. The scientists found that organic soils harbored about 50 percent fewer nutrients (because plants received no artificial fertilizer) but yielded on average only 20 percent less crop. Thus, plants farmed organically used available nutrients more efficiently. How does this happen? It seems that biodiversity on organic land is far higher than in traditionally cultivated soils. Moreover, root-colonizing fungi that help plants absorb nutrients, as well as pest-eating spiders and nutrient-cycling soil microbes, exist in significantly greater numbers on organically tilled plots.


There is much brew hah-hah about the benefits of organically produced crops.  It is like an article of faith, lacking compelling support upon careful examination.  The principle advantage to organic methods is more humus in the soil.  The principle disadvantages are increased labor, lower yield, greater cost of fertilization, lack of efficiency of scale, and greater insect infestation.  These result in a doubling in price to the consumer--jk. 


Scientific American is used as a source of numerous articles by California Skeptics because of its editorial review which is committed to balance reporting which includes mention of issues which are still being debated.  Moreover, nearly all their in-depth articles are produced by experts in their field.  Page for page they contain more information than those found in the mass media because they devote less space about the researchers and stick to the essentials about their work.   They were once similar to American Scientist in format, but since being bought in 1986 by the Holtzbrinck group of Germany.   It now geared to a less educated readership and thus has significantly less technical information; and there are more general, informative articles and less on specific areas of research.  


It has been continuously published in the U. S. since 1845, and has a monthly circulation of over 600,000.  There are foreign issues in over a half dozen languages.  Scientific American now also produces the PBS program Scientific American Frontiers--jk.


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People get the government that they deserve. Politicans such as Bush are elected because if the common person was in office, he would become another venal politican