Mold growth on organic versus non-organic wheat bread

Elizabeth González - University of Michigan Biological Station EEB 381- General Ecology

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

This paper is an interesting study on a regular household product, bread, and with surprising results. This is a good simple paper to start with, and a more complex study would enhance findings.

Introduction:

In recent decades there has been an increase in the number of people who choose to buy organic food rather than the more commonly found non-organic food. Organically grown or raised food does not use antibiotics or growth hormones on animals, conventional pesticides, or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients. Bread is a food item that can be found in the homes of many people.

The purpose of the experiment was to study the growth of mold on different kinds of bread since little research has been done on the subject. They hypothesized that the organic brands on average will take a shorter period of time to grow mold than the non-organic brands because they contain smaller amounts of preservatives and are made using products that have been grown in a more natural setting.

Results and Discussion:

They found that there is a statistically significant difference in mold growth between organic bread and non-organic bread, the p-value was 0.27. Less mold grew on the organic bread than the non-organic bread. No statistically significant differences were found between the brands or the mass lost by each bread type.

The hypothesis was disproven; less mold grew on the organic bread than the non-organic bread. This can be due to different ingredients in each type of bread, variation across the different brands or differences in the expiration dates and dates the slices of bread were made.

Further studies need to be performed in order to verify that organic bread lasts longer since only two different brands of organic bread were used. A study has shown that growing food organically can yield the same amount of product as growing it non-organically. If organic bread lasts longer than non-organic bread and yields the same amount of food it can potentially be useful knowledge in the future when it will be necessary to move towards more environmentally friendly processes.

2015 - United States - Elizabeth González - University of Michigan Biological Station EEB 381- General Ecology
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