The main carotenoids in tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum) are:
Phytoene, phytofluene, ζ-carotene, neurosporene, lycopene, β-zeacarotene, γ-carotene and β-carotene. The carotenoid content and composition are highly dependent on the tomato variety and on the ripeness of the fruit.
The structure of all carotenoids may be derived formally from this acyclic C₄₀H₅₆ structure, having a long central chain of conjugated double bonds, by hydrogenation, dehydrogenation, cyclization, or oxidation or any combination of these processes.
LYCOPENE IN FOOD:
Tomato paste, tomato sauce, and tomato-based soups are rich in carotenoids and are frequently consumed. Foodstuffs such as these, which are high in carotenoid content, were individually analyzed and the carotenoids identified and quantified by reversed-phase HPLC. The carotenoids detected included lycopene, lutein, alpha-, beta-, gamma- and zeta-carotenes, neurosporene, phytoene, and phytofluene. As expected, lycopene was the most abundant carotenoid, ranging in concentration from 0.3 mg/100 g in vegetable beef soup to 55 mg/100 g in tomato paste. The concentration of β-carotene ranged from 0.23 mg/100 g in tomato soup to 1.51 mg/100 g in vegetable soup.