Author(s): Pk Z, Helyes L, Lugasi A
Tomato fruit ripening is a complex, genetically programmed process that culminates in dramatic changes in texture, color, flavor, and aroma of the fruit flesh. The characteristic pigmentation of red ripe tomato fruit is the result of the de novo synthesis of carotenoids, mainly lycopene and β-carotene, which are associated with the change in fruit color from green to red as chloroplasts are transformed to chromoplasts. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of ripening conditions on color development and antioxidant content. Detached tomato fruit stored at 15 and 30 °C and vine-ripened fruits were studied to characterize the ripening process by Hue (°) index (CIELab color system), which is strongly influenced by the circumstances of ripening. Total polyphenols, ascorbic acid, and lycopene content of tomato fruits were analyzed at the end of the experiment. Changes in the color of fruit stored at 15 °C and vine-ripened fruit showed significantly higher a* compared with fruit stored at 30 °C. Storage temperature influenced positively ascorbic acid and negatively lycopene content, whereas total polyphenols did not show differences among the different ripening conditions.