QTL analysis of fruit antioxidants in tomato using Lycopersicon pennellii introgression lines

Theor Appl Genet. 2005 Nov;111(7):1396-408. doi: 10.1007/s00122-005-0071-7. Epub 2005 Nov 15.


Antioxidants present in fruits and vegetables may help prevent some chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Tomatoes provide a major contribution to human dietary nutrition because of their widespread consumption in fresh and processed forms. A tomato introgression line population that combines single chromosomal segments introgressed from the wild, green fruited species Lycopersicon pennellii in the background of the domesticated tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum, was used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for nutritional and antioxidant contents. The concentration of ascorbic acid, total phenolics, lycopene and beta-carotene, and the total antioxidant capacity of the water-soluble fraction (TACW) were measured in the ripe fruits. A total of 20 QTL were identified, including five for TACW (ao), six for ascorbic acid (aa), and nine for total phenolics (phe). Some of these QTL (ao6-2, ao6-3, ao7-2, ao10-1, aa12-4, phe6-2, and phe7-4) increased levels as compared to the parental line L. esculentum. For lycopene content, we detected four QTL, but none increased levels relative to L. esculentum. The two QTL (bc6-2 and bc6-3) detected for beta-carotene increased its levels. The traits studied displayed a strong environmental interaction as only 35% of the water-soluble antioxidant QTL (including TACW, ascorbic, and phenolic contents) were consistent over at least two seasons. Also, only two QTL for phenolics were observed when plants were grown in the greenhouse and none was detected for ascorbic or TACW. The analysis demonstrates that the introgression of wild germplasm may improve the nutritional quality of tomatoes; however regulation appears to be complex with strong environmental effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Ascorbic Acid / genetics
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Biomass
  • Carotenoids / genetics
  • Carotenoids / metabolism
  • Fruit / genetics*
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • Gallic Acid / metabolism
  • Lycopene
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • beta Carotene / genetics
  • beta Carotene / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • Gallic Acid
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Lycopene