Spraying herbicides changes the flavour and nutritional value of crops

Mar 01, 2018

Your sweetness is my weakness

GARDENERS know only too well how hard it is to keep on top of weeds, because hoeing and pulling them out is back-breaking work. With big fields to look after, most farmers turn to herbicides. Over the years these chemicals have become better at knocking out weeds but leaving commercial crops alone. Organic farmers do not use artificial herbicides, and can suffer lower yields as a result. Which system produces the “better” crop is open to debate, although it is known that crops sprayed with herbicides are biochemically transformed in subtle ways. New work shows those changes in treated crops are substantial enough to change both their nutritional value and flavour.

The investigation was led by Matthew Cutulle, a horticulturalist at Clemson University in South Carolina, in collaboration with Greg Armel at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and their colleagues. They ran an extensive series of trials on large fields growing sweetcorn,...

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