The role of traditional varieties of tomato as sources of functional compounds

Autores UPV


BACKGROUND: Traditional varieties of tomato, usually associated with excellent organoleptic quality, are increasingly appreciated in European quality markets. A collection of 126 populations of 16 traditional varieties from the East of Spain (a secondary diversity center for tomato) have been evaluated during two years in order to determine their potential value as sources of functional compounds, including ascorbic acid, lycopene, B-carotene and total phenolic content. RESULTS: Population and population x year interaction significantly affected lycopene and ascorbic acid contents, while year effect was also significant for B-carotene. Despite finding some global trends in certain varieties concerning their functional value, high levels of variation have been found at the intra-varietal level. Populations with high levels of the compounds analyzed have been found, as well as different levels of intra-population and inter-year variation. Maximum mean contents for both years have reached 308 mg kg-1 of ascorbic acid, 130 mg kg-1 of lycopene, 30 mg kg-1 of B-carotene and 89 mg caffeic acid 100g-1 of total phenolic contents, though it is difficult to identify accessions with joint high values of the three compounds. CONCLUSION: These results open the possibility to promote traditional materials as sources of functional compounds, thus strengthening their quality niches and consolidating their price-premium. Additionally, these materials could also be used in breeding programs for quality.