Antioxidant nutritional quality of tomato

Luigi Frusciante, Paola Carli, Maria R. Ercolano, Rita Pernice, Antonio Di Matteo, Vincenzo Fogliano, Nicoletta Pellegrini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

224 Citations (Scopus)


Regular consumption of tomatoes has been associated with decreased risk of chronic degenerative diseases. Epidemiological findings confirm the observed health effects are due to the presence of different antioxidant molecules such as carotenoids, particularly lycopene, ascorbic acid, vitamin E and phenol compounds, particularly flavonoids. In this work, eight components contributing to the healthy quality of tomato (i. e. lycopene, β-carotene, other carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, vitamins C and E, dry residue) were studied in the framework of breeding programs aiming to develop nutritional superior genotypes. Twelve tomato advanced breeding lines and six open pollinated cultivars were grown in strictly controlled conditions and analysed for their content of antioxidants. Among the 18 genotypes analysed, 10 showed a high level of total carotenoids, 6 high level of β-carotene, 9 high lycopene levels, 15 high flavonoids and 2 relevant concentration of vitamin E. Based on such data and on a literature survey on tomato composition, an index, called index of antioxidant nutritional quality (IQUAN), was proposed as a tool to address the breeding programs in selecting tomato genotypes with antioxidant nutritional qualities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-617
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • Carotenoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Genotypes
  • Tomato


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