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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jul 14;58(13):7547-56. doi: 10.1021/jf100162j.

Changes in free amino acid, phenolic, chlorophyll, carotenoid, and glycoalkaloid contents in tomatoes during 11 stages of growth and inhibition of cervical and lung human cancer cells by green tomato extracts.

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Department of Food Service Industry, Seowon University, Cheongju-city 361-742, Republic of Korea.


Tomato ( Solanum lycopersicum ) plants synthesize nutrients, pigments, and secondary metabolites that benefit nutrition and human health. The concentrations of these compounds are strongly influenced by the maturity of the tomato fruit on the vine. Widely consumed Korean tomatoes of the variety Doturakworld were analyzed for changes in the content of free amino acids, phenolic compounds, chlorophylls, carotenoids, and glycoalkaloids at 11 stages (S1-S11) of ripeness. The results show that (a) the total content (in mg/100 g of FW) of the free amino acids and other nitrogen-containing compounds in the extracts ranged from about 41 to 85 in the green tomato extracts S1-S7 and then increased to 251 (S9) in the red extracts, followed by a decrease to 124 in S11 red extracts; (b) the total initial concentration and composition of up to 12 phenolic compounds of approximately 2000 microg/100 g of FW varied throughout the ripening process, with the quantity decreasing and the number of individual compounds increasing in the red tomato; (c) chlorophyll a and b content of tomatoes harvested during S1 was 5.73 mg/100 g of fresh pericarp and then decreased continuously to 1.14 mg/100 g for S11; (d) the concentration (in mg/100 g of FW) of lycopene in the S8 red extract of 0.32 increased to 1.27 in S11; and (e) tomatoes harvested during S1 contained 48.2 mg of dehydrotomatine/100 g of FW, and this value continually decreased to 1.5 in S7, with no detectable levels in S8-S11. The corresponding alpha-tomatine content decreased from S1 (361) to S8 (13.8). The 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) cell assay IC(50) values showed that Hel299 lung cells, A549 lung cancer cells, and HeLa cervical carcinoma cells were highly susceptible to inactivation by glycoalkaloid-rich green tomato extracts. Chang normal liver cells and U937 lymphoma cells were less susceptible. The possible significance of the results for plant physiology and the diet is discussed.

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