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.