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Keywords:

  • degradation and isomerization;
  • in vitro bioaccessibility;
  • lycopene;
  • thermal processing;
  • tomato pulp

Abstract:  Thermal processing affects the nutritional value of food products. The nutritional value is not only determined by the content but also by the bioaccessibility of nutrients. The present study was performed to gain detailed insight into the influence of thermal processing on the degradation, isomerization, and bioaccessibility of lycopene isomers in tomato pulp, without adding any other ingredient. The bioaccessibility, which is defined as the fraction of the nutrient that can be released from the food matrix, was measured using an in vitro method. The results demonstrated the rather high thermal stability of lycopene. Although a treatment at 140 °C induced isomerization, the contribution of cis-lycopene to the total lycopene content remained small. Results also confirmed that thermal processing as such can improve the in vitro bioaccessibility of lycopene in tomato pulp, but the improvement was only significant upon treatments at temperatures of 130 and 140 °C. At such intense process conditions, one should be aware of the negative effect on other quality and nutrient parameters. Possibilities of thermal processing as such to improve the nutritional value of tomato pulp (without the addition of other ingredients) thus looks rather limited.