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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Lycopene content among organically produced tomatoes

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

Submitted to: Journal of Vegetable Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/2006
Publication Date: 8/1/2007
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Roberts, W., Collins, J.K. 2006. Lycopene content among organically produced tomatoes. Journal of Vegetable Science. 12(4):93-106. .

Interpretive Summary: Organically grown vegetables is one of the most rapidly growing areas in production agriculture. Evaluation of suitable varieties for yield under organic production systems is a critical need. In addition, the quality of fruit, especially the content of phytonutrients, is of great interest to consumers. In this study, we grew twelve fresh market tomato varieties in a transitional organic production system. Tomatoes ripened on the vine to firm or soft red stages had a lycopene content similar to that found by other researchers in conventionally grown tomatoes. Tomatoes picked at the first sign of color (breaker stage) and ripened off the vine were able to develop the same amount of lycopene. Our results show that tomatoes grown in an organic system can attain full amounts of lycopene.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this research was to determine how much lycopene was produced in tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) grown organically, and if tomatoes picked at the breaker stage could obtain full lycopene content. 'Classica,' a Roma type of tomato, was highest in lycopene (106 mg/kg) and the other varieties had 50 to 60 mg/kg lycopene in soft red fruit. About 50% of the total lycopene was present in pink tomatoes and 70% in light red fruit. Fruit picked at unripe stages (breaker through light red) gained as much or more lycopene as those picked firm or soft red. This study shows that tomatoes grown organically contained substantial amounts of lycopene when ripened to firm red or soft red stages.

Last Modified: 07/25/2017
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