, 10 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover My main feedback would be that you cannot say that the differences between the 2 types of apples were because of organic vs non-organic farming. You need to have more farms in either group to say this.
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover They tested 4 apples from an organic farm and 4 apples from a "conventional" farm. Same apple type (good) but only 1 farm per group (not good).
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover This would be similar to compare the gut microbiomes of 4 stool samples from 1 Crohn's disease patient to 4 stool samples from 1 healthy control and claim that the differences in stool samples are because of the disease.
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover While it may indeed be that the differences found between organic and conventional apples are caused by different farming practices (e.g. fungicide application), it could also be differences in soil, age of trees, how the farmer removes the apples from the trees etc.
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover It is a fun study, but with only one orchard per group, this is very weak science. It would have been much better if there had been apples from 3 organic and 3 conventional orchards.
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover I also did not like how some popular science articles translated this study into "you have been eating apples wrong". Those articles implied that you should eat the seeds as well since they have highest bacterial abundance (most bacteria on apples were in seeds and stems).
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover However, if you read the paper, conventional seeds, although high in bacterial abundance, were low in diversity and dominated by Ralstonia. Composition is very similar to fruit pulp.
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover There is no proof whatsoever in the paper that eating large amounts of Ralstonia or other apple-associated bacteria is doing something for your microbiome.
I believe it is the fiber in the apple that has much more effect.
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover Would be a nice experiment to have people eat conventional apples with or without the seeds, or sterilized apples, or no apples at all and see what it does to our gut microbiome.
@ksenapathy @phylogenomics @MicrobeLover To be clear, the paper itself does not appear to claim that the bacteria in apples are beneficial. Those stretch-interpretations are made by some over-enthusiastic news sites.
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