|Author: ||M. Dorais|
|Keywords: ||antioxidants, carotenoids, irrigation, growing media, light, lycopene, mineral nutrition, nutraceutical properties, salinity, temperature|
In terms of human diet, the tomato is a major component of daily meals in many countries and constitutes an excellent source of health-promoting compounds due to the balanced mixture of minerals and antioxidants including vitamins C and E, lycopene, -carotene, lutein and flavonoids such as quercetin.
These compounds vary according to cultivar, crop management and stage of fruit ripening at harvest.
For example, orange cultivars have a higher content of carotenoids, vitamin A and volatile compounds, while yellow cultivars contain up to ten times less lycopene than red cultivars.
Health quality of the tomato fruit also vary with interactions between cultivars, environmental factors such as light and temperature, composition of the nutrient solution and crop management.
Although the formation of carotenoids in ripening fruit does not require induction by light, shaded fruits have lower carotenoid content.
Whereas red light influences chlorophyll breakdown, carotenoid synthesis is enhanced by blue light.
Increasing the EC of the nutrient solution may also lead to an increase in fresh fruit minerals, carotene and vitamin C, while high Ca or N fertilization adversely influences carotenoids and vitamin content.
On the other hand, when potassium is increased in the nutrient solution, lycopene concentration is found to be higher.
Concentration of antioxidant vitamins also changes with fruit ripening and will be discussed in this review.
The purpose of this paper is to show how the health-promoting compounds of tomato fruit may be improved through varietal selection and by controlling conditions of production and harvest.
In the face of a global market economy and public awareness of health attributes of food, obtaining tomato fruit of very high health quality is essential for insuring health benefit and consequently consumer satisfaction.
This review will then conclude on the best strategy to adopt for improvement of the health-promoting phytochemicals of tomato.
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