Biodynamic?

Presented here is a selection of research results. They have been chosen to give a picture of what you get when you purchase something biodynamic. The numbers within brackets are referring to the reference list at the end.

What do you buy?

Every time we buy something, we send a signal to the manufacturer to make a similar product! With the wallet we therefore affect the future.

Farmland is a prerequisite for our survival. It takes a long time to build up the properties of a soil. If you purchase biodynamical crops over a period of time, you have helped to create a more fertile soil with higher humus content [1-3].

Biodynamic soil withstands acidification better [3], has a much richer life of microbes and small animals [3-5], and is able to supply the plants with the nourishment they need [6].

In the biodynamic soil there is there more organic matter and living orgaisms deeper in the soil profile [3, 7, 8].

A plant cultivated with mineral fertilizers almost always contains more water than biodynamic plants [10, 11].

Nutrient density is usually lower in the conventional crops. This means that you must eat more to get the same amount of nutrients from a conventional crop than from a biodynamic.

The levels of sugar and fat are usually higher in biodynamic crops [12].

It is above all the content of nitrogen compounds that differentiate between cultivation systems. Conventionally grown crops contain a higher proportion of more simple nitrogen compounds and less high-quality proteins than corresponding biodynamic [13, 14].

Also the levels of antioxidants [15, 16], vitamins [16-18] and minerals [19-21] is usually lower in conventional products.

Figure 1. Different types of potato plants

The shape of a potato plant is affected by how we grow it. As potatoes grow the plant form the main stalks and side stems. A conventionally farmed potato grow more like the plant in picture (c) while biodynamic farmed potatoes more looks like the plant in figure a [22]. Plants with a shape similar to plant c have more frequently and more powerful pest attacks [3], poorer storage abilities, [23] and more negative taste [13, 14, 24] of the potatoes.

Biodynamic farming is based on diversity. The diversity is created by building up a polarity between sites rich or poor on soil nutrients. The nutrient-rich soil is able to nourish the demanding vegetables. The nutrient-poor soil is essential for a great diversity of herbs, pioneer plants, butterflies and other insects. It is therefore not surprising that it is also greater diversity of birds in organically cultivated areas [25]. A practical advantage of a greater diversity are that pest infestation rarely have time to grow too big before they in turn become predated by their enemies.

A farm that is formed into an independent entity does not burden the environment as much as when purchasing fertilizers and sells almost everything that is produced. If all Swedish consumers opted to buy their food locally from biodynamic farms it would reduce emissions of nitrogen from agriculture with 75% [26].

What you put in the grocery bag affect the health of the Baltic Sea’s!

What do you get?

We want to buy what we like. There can be many reasons why we like something. When you let the expert panels compare the taste of organic and conventional foods, they have been able to notice the difference [3, 13, 14, 27, 28]. However, they have not been able to agree on what flavor they like best.

It seems to be easier for the animal to know what they want. Animals able to freely choose the type they wanted chose predominantly organically grown feed [29-32].

What we buy ought to have a long shelf life. A number of studies have shown that organic food has better durability [14, 33-39]

The foods we devote most time to choose are those with lots of character, like wine and cheese. Two cheeses can come from two nearby farms. Yet they often have quite different taste. Both wine- and cheese producers are fond of biodynamic farming because they experience it help them to create what they want.

How are you?

There have only been a few studies of how people feel when they eat organic. However, a number of animal studies have shown that animals are better of on biodynamic/organic feed [31, 41-44].

In a study in a convent it could be established that the nuns felt a greater well-being during the period they ate biodynamic food. During this period the nuns experienced a greater degree of satiety, they had lower blood pressure and also a lower number of T-cells in the blood [45].

Intolerances and allergies exhibit more serious expressions when we are stressed or out of shape. It has been shown that children from families with an anthroposophic lifestyle, by whom it is more common with biodynamic food, suffer less from allergies [46].

 

References:

  1. Mäder, P., et al., Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming. Science, 296, 1694-1697. 2002.
  2. Raupp, J., Main effects of various organic and mineral fertilization on soil organic matter turnover and plant growth. Proc. 1st Meeting Concerted Action Fertilization Systems in Organic Farming, Darmstadt, May 1995, Schriftenreihe Institut für Biologisch-Dynamische Forschung, Darmstadt. 1995.
  3. Kjellenberg, L., B.D. Pettersson, and A. Granstedt, The connection between soil, crop and manure – The results from the K-trial, a 33-year study on the effect of fertilization on the properties of soil and crop – Scandinavian Research Circle, 2005. Download the report here.
  4. Alföldi, T., et al. DOC-trial Long-term effects of bio-dynamic, bio-organic and conventional farming systems on soil conditions, yield and product quality. in Main effects of various organic and mineral fertilisation on soil organic matter turnover and plant growth. 1995. Darmstadt.
  5. Granstedt, A., Long term field experiment in Sweden (K-Trial). Effects on organic and inorganic fertilizers on soil and crops. Fertilization, crop yield and quality. Raupp, J. Proc. Main effects of various organic and mineral fertilization on soil organic matter turnover and plant growth. Concerted action supported by the European Community Fertilization Systems in Organic Farming, 16-21. 1995.
  6. Granstedt, A. and L. Kjellenberg, Long Term Field Experiment in Sweden. Effects of Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers on Soil Fertility and Crop Quality. In Proc. International Conf. On Agricultural Production and Nutrition. Boston. March 19-21 1997. 1997.
  7. Mäder, P., et al., Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming. Science, 2002. 296: p. 1694-1697.
  8. Bachinger, J., Effects of organic and mineral fertiliser on chemical and microbiological parameters of C- and N-dynamics and root parameters. M„der, P.; Raupp, J. Effects of low and high external input agriculture on soil microbial biomass and activities in view of sustainable agriculture. Proc. 2nd meeting Concerted Action Fertilization Systems in Organic Farming, 15-16 September, 1995, 52-58. 1995.
  9. Woese, K., et al., Ökologisch und konventionell erzeugte Lebensmittel im Vergleich- Eine litteraturstudie, Teil I und II. 1995: Bundesinstitut für gesundheitlichen Verbrauerschutz und Veterinär medizin.
  10. Worthington, V., Effect of agricultural methods on nutritional quality: A comparison of organic with conventional crops. Alternative Therapies, 1998. 4(1): p. 58-69.
  11. Woese, K., et al., A comparison of organically and conventionally grown foods -results of a review of the relevant literature. J.Sci.Food Agric., 1997. 74: p. 281-293.
  12. Dlouhy, J., Alternativa odlingsformer- växtprodukters kvalitet vid konventionell och biodynamisk odling. Uppsala. 1981.
  13. Pettersson, B.D., Konventionell och biodynamisk odling. Järna. 1982.
  14. Olsson, M., et al., Antioxidant Level and Inhibition of Cancer Cell Proliferation in Vitro by Extracts from Organically and Conventionally Cultivated Strawberries. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2006. 54: p. 1248-1255.
  15. Tarozzi, A., et al., Antioxidant effectiveness of organically and non-organically grown red oranges in cell culture systems. European Journal of Nutrition, 2006. 45: p. 152-158.
  16. Caris-Veyrat, C., et al., Influence of Organic versus Conventional Agricultural Practice on the Antioxidant Microconstituent Content of Tomatoes and Derived Purees; Consequences on Antioxidant Plasma Status in Humans. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2004. 52: p. 6503-6509.
  17. Rembialkowska, E., E. Hallmann, and A. Szafirowska, Nutritive quality of tomatoeo fruits from organic and conventional cultivation. Organic Food Quality & Health Newsletter, 2006. 2: p. 6-15.
  18. Schuphan, W., Nutritional value of crops influenced by organic and inorganic fertilixer treatments. Qualitas Plantarum Plant Foods Hum. Nutr., 1974. 23(4): p. 333-358.
  19. Smith, B.L., Organic foods vs. supermarket foods; element levels. Journal of Applied Nutrition, 1993. 45: p. 35-39.
  20. Hermansen, J.E., et al., Major and trace elements in organically or conventionally produced milk. Journal of Dairy Research, 2005. 72: p. 362-368.
  21. Pettersson, B.D., Gödslingens inverkan på matpotatisens kvalitetsegenskaper II. Nordisk Forskningsring meddelande nr 25 Järna. 1972.
  22. Pettersson, B.D., Verkan av växtplats, gödsling och tillväxtregulerande substanser på matpotatisens kvalitetsegenskaper. Järna. 1970.
  23. Kjellenberg, L.,På jakt efter den perfekta moroten, årsrapport 2006.SBFI. 2007. Järna
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  25. Granstedt, A., O. Thomsson, and T. Schneider,Environmental impacts of eco-local food systems.Ekologiskt Lantbruk, 46 CUL. 2005. Uppsala
  26. Hansen, H., Comparison of chemical composition and taste of biodynamically and conventionally grown vegetables. Qualitas Plantarum Plant Foods Hum. Nutr., 1981. 30: p. 203-211.
  27. Haglund, A., Sensory quality of tomato, carrot and wheat. Influences of growing systems. 1998, Uppsala.
  28. Mäder, P., et al., Effect of three farming systems (bio-dymanic, bio-organic, conventional) on yield and quality of beetroot (Beta vulgaris L. var. esculenta L.) in a seven year crop rotation.Acta horticulturae, 339, 11-31. 1993.
  29. Velimirov, A., Marktorientierte Vergleichsuntersuchungen an Karotten. Ernte- Zeitschrift für Ökologie und Landwirtschaft, 1999. 2.
  30. Velimirov, A., et al., The influence of biologically and conventionally cultivated food on the fertility of rats. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture, 1992. 8: p. 325-337.
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  32. Pettersson, B.D., A comparison between conventional and biodynamic farming systems as indicated by yields and quality. Wirtz Verlag Aarau. 1978.
  33. Lieblein, G., Quality and Yield of carrot. Effects of composted manure and mineral ferilizer. 1993, Norges Landbrukshöjskole.
  34. Ahrens, E., Aspekte zum Nachernteverhalten und zur Lagerungseignung, in Lebensmittelsqualität- ganzheitlische Methoden und Koncepte, A. Meier-Ploeger and H. Vogtmann, Editors. 1988, Verlag C.F. Müller: Karlsruhe. p. 113-146.
  35. Abele, U.,Produktqualität und Düngung- mineralisch, organisch, biologisch-dynamisch.1987. Münster-Hiltrup
  36. Matthies, K., Qualitätserfassung pflanzlicher Produkte aus unterschiedlichen Düngungs- und Anbauverfahren. 1991, Gesamthochschule: Kassel- Witzenhausen.
  37. Raupp, J. Vergleichende Bewertung mikrobiologisch-biochemischer Parameter zur Qualitätsbestimmung pflanzlicher Produkte anhand von Untersuchungen zu einem langjährigen Düngungsversuch. in 4. Wiss.-Tagung Ökol. Landbau. 1997. Bonn.
  38. Samaras, I., Nachernteverhalten unterschiedlisch gedüngter Gemüsearten mit besonderer Berücksichtigung physiologischer und mikrobiologischer Parameter. 1977, Giessen.
  39. Velimirov, A.,Nahrungsmittelsqualität von Produkten aus biologischer und konventioneller Landwirtschaft im Vergleich.Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur. 2003. Wien
  40. Edelmüller, I., Untersuchungen zur Qualitätserfassungen von Produkten aus unterschiedlichen Anbausystemen (biologisch- dynamich bzw. konventionell) mittells Fütterungsversuchen an Kaninchen. 1984: Wien.
  41. Plochberger, K., Feeding Experiments. A Critertion for Quality Estimation of Biologically and Conventionally Produced Foods. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 1989. 27: p. 419-428.
  42. Staiger, D., Einfluß konventionell und biologisch-dynamisch angebauten Futters auf Fruchtbarkeit, allgemeinen Gesundheitszustand und Fleischqualität beim Hauskaninchen. Bonn. 1986.
  43. Staiger, D., The Nutritional Value of Foods from Conventional and Biodynamic Agriculture. IFOAM, 4, 9-12. 1988.
  44. Huber, K. and N. Fuchs, Wie wirkt die Erzeugungsqualität von Lebensmitteln? Lebendige Erde, 2003. 4: p. 42-47.
  45. Alm, S.J., et al., Atopy in hldren of families with an antroposofical lifestyle. The Lancet, 1999. 353(9163): p. 1485-1488.