Fruit flies buzzing on organic diet

American teenager Ria Chhabra has an inquisitive mind. After hearing her parents debate the pros and cons of organic food she decided to find out for herself whether it has any nutritional benefits. And she wasn't going to be happy with googling an answer.

The 16-year-old conceived an experiment that compared the health of fruit flies fed organic and conventional diets. She emailed professors with fruit fly labs and found one - Johannes Bauer, an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas – who was willing to help her conduct the experiment.

“By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce,” the New York Times reports.

The research, ‘Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster’, not only won Ria top honours in a national science competition, but was published in the science journal, Plosone, and could pave the way for more research into the benefits of organic food.

By: Simon Webster

First published: April 2013

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Animals & Insects, Organic Food, Pests & Diseases
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