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Fruit flies fed organic diets are healthier than flies fed nonorganic diets, study finds
Date:3/26/2013

A new study looking at the potential health benefits of organic versus non-organic food found that fruit flies fed an organic diet recorded better health outcomes than flies fed a nonorganic diet.

The study from the lab of SMU biologist Johannes H. Bauer, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, found that fruit flies raised on diets of organic foods performed better on several tests for general health.

"While these findings are certainly intriguing, what we now need to determine is why the flies on the organic diets did better, especially since not all the organic diets we tested provided the same positive health outcomes," said Bauer, principal investigator for the study.

Fruit flies on organic diets showed improvements on the most significant measures of health, namely fertility and longevity, said high school student researcher Ria Chhabra.

"We don't know why the flies on the organic diet did better. That will require further research. But this is a start toward understanding potential health benefits," said Chhabra, a student at Clark High School in Plano, Texas, who led the experiment.

Chhabra sought to conduct the experiments after hearing her parents discuss whether it's worth it to buy organic foods to achieve possible health benefits.

Bauer, an assistant professor in SMU's Department of Biological Sciences, mentored Chhabra by helping guide and design her research experiments. The research focus of Bauer's fruit fly lab is nutrition and its relationship to longevity, health and diabetes.

"It's rare for a high school student to have such a prominent position in the lab. But Ria has tremendous energy and curiosity, and that convinced me to give this research project a try," Bauer said.

The findings, "Organically grown food provides health benefits to Drosophila melanogaster," have been published in the open access journal PLOS One. Buaer and Chhabra co-authored the
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Contact: Margaret Allen
mallen@smu.edu
214-768-7664
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert

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