Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Todd Barkman

Second Advisor

Bob Samples


The aim of this study was to explore the chemical and genetic differences between organic and nonorganic tortilla chips using GC-MS and PCR. Twenty chip brands were selected: 10 organic and 10 nonorganic. A survey on shopping preferences was created and distributed to compare results of public opinion to experimental data. It yielded 212 responses. All organic chip brands, and one out of ten nonorganic chip brands, tested negative for GMOs. This study concluded that there are minimal chemical differences based on Jaccard similarity indicies and stark genetic differences between organic and nonorganic tortilla chips. In comparing statistical analyses to survey results of public opinion, it was found that the 25.12% price inflation in organic tortilla chips proves to be a barrier that 15% of shoppers are willing to overcome, while the others are content to shop nonorganically or to vary their purchases between categories.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thesis Presentation.pdf (1649 kB)
Defense Presentation