An integrative approach to developing new tomato varieties with elevated fruit antioxidant content

Bojin Bojinov1, Silviya Vasileva1, Daniela Ganeva2, Vasil Georgiev3 and Atanas Pavlov3,4
1 Agricultural University of Plovdiv, 12 Mendeleev Blvd., 4023, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
2 Agricultural Academy, Maritsa Vegetable Crops Research Institute, 32 Brezovsko Shosse Str., 4000, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
3 Laboratory of Cell Biosystems, Institute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 139 Ruski Blvd., 4000, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
4 University of Food Technologies, 26 Maritza Blvd., 4002, Plovdiv, Bulgaria


Bojinov, B., Vasileva, S., Ganeva, D., Georgiev, V. & Pavlov, A. (2024). An integrative approach to developing new tomato varieties with elevated fruit antioxidant content. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 30(2), 363–374

Carotenes have been identified as the most essential carotenoids in the human body, together with lycopene, lutein, and β-cryptoxanthin due to their beneficial antioxidant activities. Because of these properties, we have designed and conducted in 2018–2021 an experiment where various tomato accessions were metabolically profiled for their antioxidant content and other fruit parameters for further usage in crop improvement programs. Same genotypes were phenotyped and profiled with DNA markers to characterize their relative genetic distance. Aggregated data from metabolic and genetic profiling were complemented by the phenotypic data to select for the most promising cross (Pl. karotina × L1116) that was performed and developed into F1 and F2 generations. After phenotyping and genetic profiling of the 104 F2 individuals obtained from that cross, 24 individuals were selected for metabolic profiling for antioxidant contents. In relation to carotenoids accumulated in fully matured fruits the highest lycopene concentration detected in our study was 587.03 µg/g DW, while β-carotene reached 440.29 µg/g DW. Our results support the use of such integrative approach to accelerate tomato breeding when improved metabolic content of the fruits is aimed.

Keywords: tomato; breeding; antioxidants; β-carotene; lutein; lycopene; polyphenolics

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