Carotenoid Content in Cherry Tomatoes Correlated to the Color Space Values L*, a*, b*: A Non-destructive Method of Estimation
Cherry tomatoes are rich sources of carotenoids. The carotenoids are known to be precursors of vitamin A and also act as an antioxidant. It is important to visually judge the tomato surface color for higher β carotene content since this is the major provitamin AA carotenoid. Estimation of carotenoids by HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) and spectrophotometric methods in tomatoes are very expensive and time consuming. Therefore, colorimeters can be used to describe the color and determine the carotenoid content in a relatively easy and inexpensive manner. The objective of this study was to determine, if the carotenoid content within cherry tomatoes measured by conventional method could correlate with colorimetric CIE (Commission International del’Eclairage) L*, a*, b* color space values. Strong correlations were found between color surface value a* and total carotenoids (0.82) and lycopene content (0.87). We also observed positive correlation for the b* color value with β carotene (0.86). The L* value was negatively correlated (-0.78) with an increase in carotenoids. These close associations between color space values L*, a*, b* and carotenoids will help the breeders to quickly screen large germplasm/ breeding lines in their breeding program for improvement in carotenoid content through this time saving, inexpensive and nondestructive method at fully ripe stage.
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