The sustainability of current farming systems has been questioned in the last decades, especially in terms of the environmental impact and mitigation of global warming. Also, the organic sector, which is supposed to impact less on the environment than other more intensive systems, is looking for innovative solutions to improve its environmental sustainability. Promisingly, the integration of organic management practices with conservation agriculture techniques may help to increase environmental sustainability of food production. However, little is known about the possible impact of conservation agriculture on the content of bioactive compounds in cash crops. For this reason, a two-year rotation experiment used 7 cash crops (4 leafy vegetables and 3 fruit crops) to compare integrated (INT), organic farming (ORG), and organic no-tillage (ORG+) systems to evaluate the possible influence of cropping systems on the nutritional/nutraceutical values of the obtained fruits and leafy vegetables. The results pointed out specific responses based on the species as well as the year of cultivation. However, cultivation with the ORG+ cropping system resulted in effective obtainment of fruits and vegetables with higher levels of bioactive compounds in several cases (11 out 16 observations). The ORG+ cropping system results are particularly promising for leafy vegetable cultivation, especially when ORG+ is carried out on a multi-year basis. Aware that the obtained data should be consolidated with longer-term experiments, we conclude that this dataset may represent a good starting point to support conservation agriculture systems as a possible sustainable strategy to obtain products with higher levels of bioactive compounds.
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