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ABSTRACT

Carotenoids in tomatoes are important to the color and nutritive value of canned tomato pastes. Some of the plant pigments are precursors of vitamin A. It is generally believed that tomatoes contain a larger amount of lycopene, and a comparatively smaller amount of β-carotene. It is not clear whether maturity level contributes to the difference in distribution of carotenoids in tomato pastes. Tomato pastes of 26.5% total solids were made from VF-14–7879 tomatoes at pink (M1), medium red (M2) and full red (M3) maturities by the hot-break process at 104.5°C for 20 sec. The effect of harvest maturity on carotenoids and color in the canned pastes was investigated. Carotenoids in tomato pastes were extracted with hexane-acetone (1:2, v/v) solvents, and then fractionated on a MgO-Supercel (1:l) column. Phytoene, phytofluene, δ-carotene and lycopene were found in considerable amounts in the pastes, and increased as the maturity level of the tomato fruits advanced. Other pigments including p-carotene, neo-p-carotene-B, δ-carotene, neurosporene, torulene and mutatoxanthin were found to be present.