Scientist concerned at plummeting nutrient levels

By Lorraine Heller

15/03/2006 - Nutrient levels in fruits, vegetables and some food crops have dramatically declined in the past 50 years, something that could further push consumers to opting for more nutritious organic goods.

The primary reason for the decline in nutrient content and quality of several foods is the way the food is grown, processed and prepared, according to Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas.

"High-yield crops grow bigger or faster, but are not necessarily able to make or uptake sufficient nutrients to maintain their nutritional value," said Davis at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in St Louis.

Recent studies of vegetables, fruits and wheat have revealed a 5 to 35 percent decline in concentrations of some vitamins, minerals and protein over the last half-century, a phenomenon that has come to be known as