Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Collins, Julie
item Roberts, Warren

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2006
Publication Date: 6/1/2006
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Collins, J.K., Roberts, W. 2006. Lycopene content of organically grown tomatoes [abstract]. HortScience. 41:503.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Reports on the lycopene content of tomatoes vary widely with country and source of fruit (field, greenhouse, retail). This study was done to compare the lycopene content of organically grown tomatoes, and to compare fully red fruit to those ripened after harvest. Thirteen tomato cultivars (12 beefsteak and one Roma type) were planted in land designated as transitional organic and fertilized with organic poultry litter. No additional fertilizer was applied. Pesticides approved for organic use were applied as necessary. Fruit at the turning to firm red stages were harvested and held at 20 to 28 C until the soft red stage was reached (about 2 to 8 days). Day 0 fruit at pink to soft red stages was harvested at the same time. Multiple harvests were made for 6 weeks, until 10 fruit per cultivar and ripeness stage and storage treatment were obtained. Lycopene content of firm red and soft red fruit were similar, and was 50-65 mg/kg for all the round fruit types, and 115 mg/kg for the Roma type. Fruit ripened after harvest without ethylene were able to obtain similar levels of lycopene, even in those fruit harvested with just a trace of color. ‘Sunmaster’ and ‘Solar Set’ tomatoes grown organically were similar in lycopene content to those grown in previous years in a conventional production system. These results show that organically grown tomatoes can achieve normal to high levels of lycopene. Tomatoes ripened after harvest without ethylene can achieve the lycopene content of fruit harvested fully ripe.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page