The international news wire service UPI has covered research carried out in the fruit fly lab of SMU biologist Johannes H. Bauer by Plano, Texas, high school student Ria Chhabra in its March 27, 2013, article “Some organic food may be healthier.”
Bauer, an assistant professor in SMU’s Department of Biological Sciences, mentored Chhabra in her research to examine whether there would be health differences to fruit flies fed an organic diet or a nonorganic diet. Chhabra’s study found that flies fed an organic diet fared better on important health tests, particularly fertility and longevity.
Fruit flies fed an organic diet did better on tests of general health and two significant measures of health — fertility and longevity, U.S. researchers say.
Ria Chhabra a student at Clark High School in Plano, Texas; biologist Johannes H. Bauer of the Southern Methodist University in Dallas; and Santharam Kolli, a research associate at SMU, said the data demonstrated fruit flies raised on organic food extracts performed better on the majority of health tests.
“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,” Chhabra said in a statement.
Chhabra said the study was inspired by a conversation her parents had on the merits of buying organic food.
Bauer said his laboratory utilized one of the most widely used model systems, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, often used to study human diseases such as diabetes, heart function and Alzheimer’s disease because of the fruit fly’s short life cycle and low cost.
The study, published in PLoS One, also found some negative or neutral results using diets prepared from organic raisins, which might suggest the beneficial health effects of organic diets might be dependent on specific food items, Bauer said.
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