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Open Access Analysis of Tomato Carotenoids: Comparing Extraction and Chromatographic Methods

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Background: Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are an economically and nutritionally important crop colored by carotenoids such as lycopene and β-carotene. Market diversification and interest in the health benefits of carotenoids has created the desire in plant, food, and nutritional scientists for improved extraction and quantification protocols that avoid the analytical bottlenecks caused by current methods. Objective: Our objective was to compare standard and rapid extraction as well as chromatographic separation methods for tomato carotenoids. Method: Comparison was based on accuracy and the ability to discriminate between alleles and genetic backgrounds. Estimates of the contribution to variance in the presence of genetic and environmental effects were further used for comparison. Selections of cherry and processing tomatoes with varying carotenoid profiles were assessed using both established extraction and HPLC–diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) methods and rapid extraction and ultra-HPLC-DAD (UHPLC-DAD) protocols. Results: Discrimination of alleles in samples extracted rapidly (<5 min/sample) was similar to samples extracted using a standard method (10 min/sample), although carotenoid concentrations were lower due to reduced extraction efficiency. Quantification by HPLC-DAD (21.5 min/sample) and UHPLC-DAD (4.2 min/sample) were comparable, but the UHPLC-DAD method could not separate all carotenoids and isomers of tangerine tomatoes. Random effects modeling indicated that extraction and chromatographic methods explained a small proportion of variance compared with genetic and environmental sources. Conclusions: The rapid extraction and UHPLC-DAD methods could enhance throughput for some applications compared with standard protocols.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Ohio State University, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, 2001 Fyffe Court, Columbus, OH 43210 2: The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, 1680 Madison Ave, Wooster, OH 44691 3: The Ohio State University, Department of Food Science and Technology, 2015 Fyffe Court, Columbus, OH 43210

Publication date: July 1, 2019

This article was made available online on February 20, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Analysis of Tomato Carotenoids: Comparing Extraction and Chromatographic Methods".

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  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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