The Effect of Industrial Food Processing on Potentially Health-Beneficial Tomato Antioxidants

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Nov;50(10):919-30. doi: 10.1080/10408390903001503.


Increasing desires from both consumers and producers to understand better which nutritive components are present in our food and how these are influenced by industrial processing strategies is resulting in extra research involving the use of state-of-the-art technologies to generate novel biochemical information. In this review, attention has been focused on tomato as this is a product eaten right across the world both as fresh produce and after having been processed in a wide variety of ways. There is a particular interest in tomato as it is a major component in the so-called "Mediterranean diet" which has recently been associated with a healthier lifestyle. Tomatoes are rich sources of a variety of nutritional compounds and especially some key antioxidant components such as the carotenoid lycopene, vitamin C, and a range of polyphenols. The potentially protective properties of these antioxidants are of great interest and the consumer has already become aware of their potential importance. Surveying the literature has revealed that much research has been done on the biochemical composition of tomato and its products. However, it remains difficult to make clear conclusions on optimizing the processing strategy. Many, apparently conflicting, findings have been reported and consequently, in this review, we have drawn attention to these and have attempted to clarify their cause. Finally, a range of recommendations has been made as to how future research might be performed in order to generate more concrete conclusions enabling recommendations towards more optimized processing strategies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis
  • Biological Availability
  • Carotenoids / analysis*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Lycopene
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / chemistry*
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Polyphenols
  • Tocopherols / analysis


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Tocopherols
  • Lycopene