Continued and mounting evidence of the health benefits provided by carotenoid and anthocyanin pigments has increased public interest in dietary sources of these important phytonutrients. Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) are the primary dietary contributor of lycopene and an important source of beta-carotene. A collection of tomatoes containing the genes hp-1, dg, ogc, Ip, B and Af that are known to affect carotenoid and anthocyanin levels have been analyzed using HPLC. Levels of lycopene, beta-carotene, phytoene, and phytofluene have been determined in these accessions. Accession LA 3005, containing the dg gene, had the highest lycopene levels of the accessions analyzed (14 mg/100 g fresh wt.). A rapid HPLC method for quantitation of carotenoid levels from tomato fruit has been developed. “Heirloom” black and purple tomatoes have also been included in the accessions analyzed and have carotenoid levels comparable to cultivated red tomatoes. Anthocyanin presence has been confirmed only in the accessions LA 1996 (Af) and in some fruit of segregating plants from LA 3668 (Abg). Total monomeric anthocyanin content of LA 1996 as measured by the pH differential method is estimated to be 5.6 mg/100 g in the outer pericarp tissues and 18.6 mg/100 g in the skin tissue.
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