Science Into Practice - Probing tomato health benefits

Tomatoes contain a number of nutrients with antioxidant properties including lycopene, which lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer. HDC project PE 009 aimed to identify and quantify the bioactive nutrients in tomatoes.

Consultant Gerry Hayman collected UK fruit from different sites at different times in the growing season. He also collected conventionally and organically grown fruit as well as speciality and classic varieties. All of the fruit was analysed by Dr Paul Fraser at the Royal Holloway University, in London.

The effect of the ripening inhibitor gene (RIN) on tomato nutrients was also investigated. This gene lengthens the shelf life in imported fruit, allowing for fruit to be harvested while still hard and unripe to withstand transport.

In May, all UK fruit examined had higher levels of lycopene than those recorded in imported fruit. However, few differences were noted in total antioxidant and vitamin C content. Spanish fruit was found to contain more tocopherols and phenolics.

In September, all fruit had more lycopene, rutin, total oxidants and vitamin C. No differences were recorded between conventionally and organically grown fruit. Novelty and classic varieties had distinctive nutrient profiles.

All recorded levels of nutrients were in line with published literature, affirming that breeding has not compromised the nutrient content of tomatoes.

The full project report for HDC project PE 009 can be found on the HDC website at

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

What should growers make of the Government's migration report?

What should growers make of the Government's migration report?

By holding out the "possibility" of a seasonal agricultural workers scheme (SAWS), the Migration Advisory Committee's (MAC) long-awaited final report, published this week, makes an exception for fresh produce amid its wider call for a shift away from low-skill immigration.

Tractors: market roundup

Tractors: market roundup

Manufacturers are working to provide solutions to many challenges. Sally Drury looks at their newest models.

What does the Agriculture Bill mean for growers?

What does the Agriculture Bill mean for growers?

The publication of the Agriculture Bill this week formally kick-starts the Government's plans to implement a "green Brexit" for farming, the area of the economy most impacted by the UK's withdrawal from the EU from next March.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive RANKING of UK Fruit Producers by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon