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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 28;59(24):12801-14. doi: 10.1021/jf202791j. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Free amino acid and phenolic contents and antioxidative and cancer cell-inhibiting activities of extracts of 11 greenhouse-grown tomato varieties and 13 tomato-based foods.

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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 bioactive compounds that benefit nutrition and human health. The nature and concentrations of these compounds are strongly influenced by varietal factors such as size and color as well as by processing. To better understand how these factors affect the concentration of nutrients and bioactive compounds, we analyzed 11 Korean tomato varieties grown under the same greenhouse conditions and 13 processed commercial tomato products for free amino acids and amino acid metabolites by HPLC, for individual phenolics by HPLC-MS, for total phenolics by the Folin-Ciocalteu method, for antioxidative activity by the FRAP and DPPH methods, and for cancer cell-inhibiting effects by the MTT assay. We also determined the protein content of the tomatoes by an automated Kjeldahl method. The results show that there is a broad range of bioactive compounds across tomato varieties and products. Small tomatoes had higher contents of bioactive compounds than the large ones. The content of phenolic compounds of processed products was lower than that of fresh tomatoes. Tomato extracts promoted growth in normal liver (Chang) cells, had little effect in normal lung (Hel299) cells, mildly inhibited growth of lung cancer (A549) cells, and first promoted and then, at higher concentrations, inhibited growth in lymphoma (U937) cells. The relationship of cell growth to measured constituents was not apparent. Dietary and health aspects of the results are discussed.

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