Chemical elements as a tool to discriminate organic citrus from conventional citrus.
Brazil is the world largest producer of citrus and the largest producer and exporter of frozen concentrated orange juice, the principal product of the citrus chain. The Brazilian conventional citriculture is one of the most sprayed culture with agrochemicals. The organic citriculture is an alternative production system, with respect to the environment and offering consumers a safe food. Aiming at discriminating organic citrus from conventional citrus, the elemental composition of oranges from two production systems was evaluated by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). A comprehensive sampling of two citrus farms having different production system, organic and conventional, was carried out in the Bebedouro region, state of São Paulo. The variety Valencia (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck) budded on Rangpur lime (C. limonia Osbeck) was selected due to its wide distribution in the producing countries. Thirty orange trees of each production system (conventional and organic) were sampled for leaves, fruits and soils. Fourteen samples of retail commercial orange juices (organic and conventional) were purchased. Samples of lime sulfur were analyzed to investigate the influence on the elemental composition of organic fruits and leaves. Sample preparation included freeze-drying for juices, washing, oven-drying and grinding in alumina mill for leaves and oven-drying and grinding in mortar pistle for soils. The samples were irradiated in the nuclear research reactor IEA-R1m of the Nuclear and Energetic Research Institute (IPEN/CNEN), São Paulo. The induced radioactivity was measured with germanium detectors at the Radioisotopes Laboratory (LRi) of the Nuclear Energy Center for Agriculture (CENA/USP) by high-resolution gamma ray spectrometry. Elemental concentrations were calculated by the k0-method with an in-house software package. The difference between the two production systems was evidenced by multivariate and univariate analysis. The elements As, Br, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Eu, Fe, Hf, K, La, Na, Nd, Sc, Sm, Ta, Tb, Th, U, Yb and Zn were determined for soil samples; Ba, Br, Ca, Ce, Co, Cs, Eu, Fe, K, La, Na, Nd, Rb, Sc, Sm, Sr, Tb, Th, Yb and Zn for leaves samples and Br, Ca, Co, Cs, Fe, K, La, Na, Rb and Zn for juice samples. Br, Ca, Co, Cs, La and Rb were the key elements for separating samples (leaves and juices) of organic and conventional oranges. Br has proven to be the best discriminator either for the orange juices from the farms of the present study and the commercial orange juices.
Advisor:Elisabete Aparecida De Nadai Fernandes; Déborah Inês Teixeira Fávaro; Fábio Sileno Tagliaferro; Elisabete Aparecida De Nadai Fernandes
School:Universidade de São Paulo
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords: chemical composition
Date of Publication:05/19/2005