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J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Apr;99(6):2763-2774. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9484. Epub 2018 Dec 22.

Comparison of lycopene changes between open-field processing and fresh market tomatoes during ripening and post-harvest storage by using a non-destructive reflectance sensor.

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Research Institute of Horticulture, Skierniewice, Poland.
Istituto di Fisica Applicata 'Nello Carrara' - CNR, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.



Accumulation and stability of tomato lycopene markedly depends on the cultivar, plant growing and storage conditions. To estimate lycopene in open-field cultivated processing and fresh market tomatoes, we used a calibrated spectral reflectance portable sensor.


Lycopene accumulation in fruits attached to the plant, starting from the Green ripening stage, followed a sigmoidal function. It was faster and reached higher levels in processing (cv. Calista) than fresh market (cv. Volna) tomatoes (90 and 62 mg kg-1 fresh weight, respectively). During storage at 12, 20 and 25 °C, Red tomatoes retained about 90% of harvest lycopene for three weeks. Pink tomatoes increased lycopene during the first week of storage, but never reached the lycopene values of Red tomatoes ripened on the vine. Storability at 12 °C retaining the highest quality in red tomatoes was limited to 14 and 7 days for Calista and Volna cultivars, respectively.


Significant differences in lycopene accumulation and stability between processing and fresh market tomatoes were established by examining with time the very same fruits by a non-destructive optical tool. It can be useful in agronomical and post-harvest physiological studies and can be of interest for producers oriented to the niche nutraceutical market. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry.


Lycopersicon esculentum; fresh market tomatoes; lycopene; processing tomatoes; reflectance; storage temperature

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