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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A rapid spectrophotometric method for analyzing lycopene content in tomato and tomato products

Authors
item Davis, Angela
item Fish, Wayne
item Perkins Veazie, Penelope

Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 21, 2002
Publication Date: June 2, 2003
Citation: Davis, A.R., Fish, W.W., Perkins Veazie, P.M. 2003. A rapid spectrophotometric method for analyzing lycopene content in tomato and tomato products. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 28:425-430.

Interpretive Summary: Lycopene is a phytonutrient with antioxidant properties. This compound imparts the red pigment in watermelon, tomato, and pink grapefruit but in few other fruits and vegetables that are typically consumed in a North American diet. Because of its health benefits and food colorant potential, lycopene content in fruit is of interest to the food industry. Unfortunately, current methods to assay lycopene content in fruit are time consuming, expensive and use hazardous organic solvents. We report here a simple, rapid, inexpensive method for measuring lycopene content in tomato and tomato products. This method uses no hazardous chemicals and promises widespread use for lycopene quantitation.

Technical Abstract: Lycopene is a carotenoid with antioxidant properties. This carotenoid imparts the red pigment in watermelon, tomato, and pink grapefruit but in few other fruits and vegetables that are typically consumed in a North American diet. Because of its health benefits and food colorant potential, lycopene content in fruits is of interest to the food industry. Current methods to assay lycopene content in fruit are time consuming, expensive and use hazardous organic solvents. Attempts to correlate lycopene content to tristimulus colorimeter readings of tomato fruit have been unable to accurately predict lycopene content. We report a method by which color absorbance was used to quantify lycopene content in tomato flesh puree and purees of tomato products. This method is rapid, inexpensive and needs no hazardous chemicals. This simple method using a xenon flash colorimeter/spectrophotometer for measuring lycopene content in tomato and tomato products promises widespread use for lycopene quantitation.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014