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Phytochemicals in Organically and Conventionally Produced Plants

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2022) | Viewed by 643

Special Issue Editors

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA ARS, NCAUR, Functional Foods Research Unit, 1815 N University St, Peoria, IL 61604, USA
Interests: identification, isolation, and analysis of phytochemicals from plants and plant products; assessing their functional activity in biological systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Organic food sales and production are expanding rapidly worldwide. For example, in the United States alone, the sales of organic food products reached $45.2 billion in 2017, accounting for around 5% of the total food market in the U.S. With a share of 30% of retail sales, Germany is the biggest organic market in Europe followed by France (18%), the United Kingdom (9%) and Italy (8%). Organic food production has been steadily increasing in the emerging economies and in the developing countries. 

Recent studies have demonstrated that consumers have positive attitudes towards organic food products. Most consumers associate organic food with benefits such as food safety, environmental stewardship, and human and animal health and welfare. Indeed, chemical pesticides, sewage sludge, irradiation, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, and GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) are not allowed in organic food production and processing. Generally, research has shown that organically produced food may have higher nutritional value, although there is still significant debate over this and no consensus has been reached. There is insufficient research that examined secondary metabolites and antioxidant capacity of the organic food, traits that may directly be related to health benefits.

Each plant species produces a unique suite of phytochemicals, which allow it to mediate stress in its environment. These compounds have important biological and biochemical activities on the microflora and macroflora around the growing plant. Besides developing a fundamental understanding of how plants work chemically, this research can also provide us with the opportunity to develop new products and uses for agricultural products and co-products, such as new natural pesticides, and new nutritional components to fight disease development. We can also use this information to more accurately evaluate agricultural materials for ingredient authenticity and for contamination.

Rapidly developing new instrument technology, coupled with internet-based libraries, databases, and search engines, is allowing researchers to develop rapid and accurate methods to quickly determine the complete chemical composition in any plant material. Phytochemical research needs to coordinate a range of scientific expertise (e.g., chemistry, food technology, plant physiology, microbiology, chemical engineering, entomology), that are shared collaboratively to enhance ongoing research activities.

In humans and animals, these compounds have been shown to have both deleterious and beneficial effects. In foods, many of these phytochemicals have been named “nutriceuticals” and it is believed that they can be used to mitigate health issues, both on pathogen based disease and in chronic diseases. These mechanisms of action are just starting to be studied, and research work on synergistic effects of multiple nutriceuticals has only just been begun. We can also use plant natural product composition to address the next big challenge in human nutrition research. Dietary plant natural products have been thought to mediate, slow or even prevent the development of many chronic diseases—such as cancer, diabetes, heart and circulatory diseases, osteoporosis, arthritis, pulmonary diseases, Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Preventing or slowing chronic disease through diet would be a very effective way of side-stepping the rising cost of medical care. 

This Special Issue will focus on how production and processing methods (organic vs. conventional) may alter the phytochemical content, composition and the antioxidant capacity of food products.

Dr. Valtcho Zheljazkov
Dr. Mark A. Berhow
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Phytochemicals
  • Secondary metabolites
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Organic food products
  • Bioactive compounds

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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