There is considerable interest in the bioavailability of carotenoids from the diet and their bioactivity in vivo. Little is known, however, of the preabsorption events in the gastric lumen on the breakdown or isomerisation of dietary carotenoids. In this study the effects of the acidic environment found in the gastric milieu on lycopene have been investigated. The results show that under these conditions all-trans-lycopene is isomerised to cis-isomers, which may be implicated in enhanced absorption from the small intestine. Furthermore the pH, as well as the food matrix, seems to have an influence on the level of isomerisation of this carotenoid.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.