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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Molecular Biology of Human Pathogens Associated with Food

Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research

Title: Review of the anticarcinogenic properties and other health benefits of tomato compounds lycopene and tomatine in pure form and in fresh and processed tomatoes

Author
item Friedman, Mendel

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: September 16, 2013
Publication Date: September 30, 2013
Citation: Friedman, M. 2013. Review of the anticarcinogenic properties and other health benefits of tomato compounds lycopene and tomatine in pure form and in fresh and processed tomatoes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 61:9534-9550.

Interpretive Summary: Tomatoes produce the bioactive compounds lycopene and a-tomatine that are reported to have potential health-promoting effects in animals and humans. Because both lycopene and tomatine have been reported to elicit anticarcinogenic and other beneficial effects in vitro and in vivo, the main objective of this review is to integrate the widely scattered information on the analysis and chemistry as well on the anticarcinogenic effects of these two tomato compounds, both in pure form and in widely consumed fresh tomatoes and processed tomato products and to suggest further research approaches in these areas designed to enhance the potential health-promoting effects of these natural compounds, individually and in combination with other bioactive food ingredients. As part of this effort, we also present brief summaries on beneficial antibiotic and cardiovascular effects and information on the mechanisms that seem to govern the bioactivities. The overlapping aspects are described in terms of general concepts for a better understanding of the impact of tomato compounds in general and in food in particular. Such an understanding can lead to the development of improved tomatoes and tomato-based food designed to enhance nutrition and health.

Technical Abstract: Tomatoes produce the bioactive compounds the red pigment lycopene and the glycoalkaloid a-tomatine that are reported to have potential health-promoting effects in animals and humans but our understanding of the roles of these compounds in the diet is incomplete. This review surveys and interprets the current knowledge of the content of these compounds in fresh and processed tomatoes and their bioactivities against cancer cells in vitro and in vivo as well as beneficial antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular effects. Also covered are chemical, analytical, compositional, and epidemiological aspects of fresh and processed tomato products and mechanistic aspects of the in vivo bioactivities. Further research is suggested for each of these categories. The described findings are not only of fundamental interest but have practical implications for agriculture, nutrition, food safety, and animal and human health. The collected information and suggested research might contribute to a better understanding of the agronomical, biochemical, physiological, molecular, and cellular basis of the described health-promoting effects and facilitate and guide further studies needed to optimize the use of lycopene and a-tomatine in pure form and in fresh tomatoes and processed tomato products to help prevent or treat human disease.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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