Nutritionists Credit Pesticides for Widespread Availability of Apples in the American Diet

Apple production has come a long way in the U.S. thanks to the protection against insects and diseases provided by pesticides. In fact, without pesticides, this important fruit would largely disappear from our diets. A point recently made by nutritionists from the University of Nebraska…

“Apples play an important role in the American diet. … Apples and apple products offer several important health benefits. Besides supplying key nutrients, apples contain important compounds that may protect against cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.”

“The availability and judicious use of pesticides is important for the production of high-quality apples. Without the use of pesticides, there would be very few apples grown in the United States. Pesticides protect the fruit from attack by insects, mites, disease organisms, and weeds. … Pesticides are necessary to produce an abundant, consumer-accepted, affordable apple supply.”

Authors: Lewis, N. and Ruud, J.
Affiliation: Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska
Title: Apples in the American diet.
Publication: Nutrition in Clinical Care. 2004. 7(2): 82-88.

Fungicides May Increase Health Benefits of Fruit Juice

Fungicides are widely-used to control diseases of fruit. Some fungicides have been shown to alter antioxidant metabolism in plant tissues. UK researchers conducted an experiment to see if fungicide applications could increase the health benefits of blackcurrant juice, a fruit grown widely in Europe and New Zealand…

“[Blackcurrant] is well regarded and strongly marketed for its exceptional antioxidant capacity. …cultivars have not yet been released with complete resistance to a range of yield- and quality-reducing fungal diseases. These diseases therefore still require extensive chemical control within plantations. … Fungal diseases in blackcurrant have been demonstrated to be effectively controlled by a range of fungicide classes including the strobilurin group. … In addition to their antifungal activities, the strobilurin group of fungicides have been shown to modulate plant physiology and biochemistry, resulting in yield increases and improvements in crop quality.”

“The impact of fungicide treatment on fungal infection and blackcurrant juice quality was examined in a series of field experiments over the course of 2 years. … In conclusion, the work presented here demonstrates a clear benefit of fungicide application in the control of foliar disease. Furthermore, there is an indication that fungicide application could improve juice quality with respect to both sensory characteristics and potential health benefits of juice consumption.”

Authors: AJ Nwankno, SL Gordon, SR Verrall, RM Brennan and RD Hancock
Affiliation: The James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK
Title: Treatment with fungicides influences phytochemical quality of blackcurrant juice
Publication: Annals of Applied Biology 2012 160:86-96.