Organic foods linked to better fertility, longevity in fruit flies

Johannes Bauer, biology professor at SMU's Dedman School of Humanities and Sciences, oversaw a study where fruit flies raised on a diet of organic foods performed better on a variety of health tests, including fertility and longevity than fruit flies that were fed non-organic food.

By Ryan Jaslow

New research shows eating lots of organic food can lead to a healthier life -- if you happen to be a fruit fly.
Scientists fed fruit flies extracts from either organic foods or non-organic, conventionally-grown foods, and found the organic group was healthier and lived longer than their counterparts.
"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," study leader Ria Chhabra, a student at Clark High School in Plano, Texas, said in a written statement.
That's right, the study was led by a Texas high school student who got the idea from hearing her parents discuss whether or not it was worth it to buy organic foods for health reasons.
So, Chhabra teamed up with her mentor, Dr. Johannes H. Bauer, an assistant professor of biology at Southern Methodist University in Texas.
"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 researchers went to a grocery store and purchased organic and conventional foods including potatoes, soybeans, raisins and bananas. They fed the flies extracts from these foods, testing each independently to avoid mixing the diets.
They found the flies fed organic foods had better fertility, more resistance to oxidative stress (which is linked to formation of diseases), more resistant to starvation (which measures survival) and lived longer....