We carried out a 6-year study to assess the effect of conventional, organic, and mixed cultivation practices on bioactive compounds (flavonoids, anthocyanins) and antioxidant capacity in onion.
Total flavonoids, total anthocyanins, individual flavonols, individual anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity were measured in two varieties ('Hyskin' and 'Red Baron') grown in a long-term split-plot factorial systems comparison trial. This is the first report of repeated measurements of bioactive content over an extensive time period in a single crop type within the same trial.
Antioxidant activity (DPPH and FRAP), total flavonol content, and levels of Q 3,4' D and Q 3 G were higher in both varieties under fully organic compared to fully conventional management. Total flavonoids were higher in 'Red Baron' and when onions were grown under organic soil treatment.
Differences were primarily due to different soil management practices used in organic agriculture rather than pesticide/ herbicide application.
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