Nitrogen isotopic signature of vegetables from the Slovenian market and its suitability as an indicator of organic production

Isotopes Environ Health Stud. 2011 Jun;47(2):214-20. doi: 10.1080/10256016.2011.570865.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to obtain preliminary data on δ(15)N values in organically and conventionally grown vegetables available on the Slovenian market to determine whether there are any characteristic differences in δ(15)N values, which could be used as a marker to differentiate between organically and conventionally grown vegetables, namely vegetables grown with synthetic or organic nitrogen fertilisers. Therefore, 14 different varieties of organically and conventionally grown vegetables were analysed. The results obtained show clear differences in mean δ(15)N values between organically and conventionally grown vegetables (up to 6.3\permil). However, due to overlapping results, it was not possible to differentiate between organically and conventionally grown counterparts in eight vegetable varieties, despite the differences in mean δ(15)N values. The results obtained indicate that the method has several limitations. Hence, δ(15)N could be a reliable indicator for organic production, but nevertheless, the conclusion has to be validated by background information.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Fertilizers / analysis
  • Food, Organic / analysis*
  • Food, Organic / classification
  • Nitrogen Isotopes / analysis
  • Organic Agriculture*
  • Slovenia
  • Vegetables / chemistry*

Substances

  • Fertilizers
  • Nitrogen Isotopes