Tomato (Solanum lycopersicon L.) and its products can play a significant role in modern human diet as important sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as well as their being relatively easily accessible foods. It is consumed in many forms, such as fresh, cooked, condensed, and dried. Tomato fruit contains considerable amounts of valuable phytochemicals, which raise the nutritional importance of tomatoes and increase their use as functional food or food ingredient. Among phytochemicals, carotenoids (lycopene, β-carotene) are of special interest due to their role in reduction of the onset of several types of cancer (Giovannucci, 1999) and cardiovascular (Gammone et al., 2015) or neurodegenerative diseases (Rao & Rao, 2007).
In case of industrial tomatoes, the factors that influence the concentration of phytonutrients such as carotenoids, tocopherols, and vitamin C the most, may include the maturity level of fruit at the time of harvest and agronomic, geographical, and environmental conditions (Lenucci et al., 2006; Helyes et al., 2006; Ilahy et al., 2011; Helyes et al., 2014; De sio et al., 2019). The nutritional value of tomato can be optimized by providing the right environmental parameters, such as choosing the right crop area (Meulebroke et al., 2012), and measures to compensate for weather extremes (such as watering or shading). Both temperature and light are the most significant factors in the synthesis of antioxidant carotenoid compounds, and above 30–32 °C, for example, the formation of lycopene is inhibited (Dumas et al., 2003; Helyes, 2007), but β-carotene synthesis still happens. It remains active up to 38 °C, which can result in a change in the colour of the berries. Further abiotic factors that determine temperature and UV-B radiation are precipitation and soil. Soils with different properties also have a significant impact on the quality of the crop and its content parameters.
In Hungary, industrial tomato is cultivated in different soil types including sand and clay-loam soils. The two most widely used soil types are suitable for the production of industrial tomatoes, but their different agronomic properties may lead to differences in tomato’s nutritional value. Earlier studies have shown that water stress causes the lycopene levels of tomato fruit to rise (Dumas et al., 2003). The weather parameters, the appropriate crop area, and other great influencers can play significant roles in the cultivation (Helyes, 1999) and ultimately the developmental parameters of this vegetable species, such as water soluble solids, carbohydrates, acid content, amount and proportion of phytonutrients (Helyes, 2007).
The main objective of the present work was to study the effect of soil type and some abiotic factors on the content of the most important phytonutrients in industrial tomato cultivated in 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The work is supported by the EFOP3.6.3-VEKOP-16-2017-00008 and EFOP-3.6.1-16-201600016 projects. These projects are co-financed by the Higher Education Institutional Excellence Program (1783-3/2018/FEKUTSRAT) awarded by the Ministry of Human Capacities within the framework of water related researches of Szent István University.
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