Growth Conditions Influence the Melatonin Content of Tomato Plants

Food Chem. 2013 Jun 1;138(2-3):1212-4. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.10.077. Epub 2012 Nov 15.


Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is an interesting molecule with well-known functions in vertebrates. Since its discovery in plants in 1995, many data indicate that its role as a cellular antioxidant is very relevant. Agents that induce stress cause increased melatonin levels in plant organs and melatonin levels fluctuate over the light:dark cycle; there are also conflicting data on the influence of environmental conditions on the melatonin content of plants. In this contribution we describe how cultivation conditions decisively influence melatonin levels in roots, stems and leaves of tomato plants, and we establish some guidelines for interpreting data with the intention of opening up new discussion options, given the lack of data on the place/s of melatonin biosynthesis and its mode of action in plant cells as an antioxidant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / chemistry
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / growth & development*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / radiation effects
  • Melatonin / analysis
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Photoperiod


  • Antioxidants
  • Melatonin