People are doing interesting things with food these days. Researchers in Ohio have devised some new varieties of tomato by combining heirloom varieties with disease-resistant modern varieties, and in the process dramatically raised the content of usable lycopene. It’s all in this American Chemical Society Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry article, Carotenoid Absorption in Humans Consuming Tomato Sauces Obtained from Tangerine or High–Carotene Varieties of Tomatoes
Tomato sauces were produced from unique tomato varieties to study carotenoid absorption in humans. Tangerine tomatoes, high in cis-lycopene, especially prolycopene (7Z,9Z,7’Z,9’Z), and high–carotene tomatoes as an alternative dietary source of -carotene were grown and processed… Lycopene dose-adjusted triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein AUC responses in the tangerine sauce group were relatively high when compared to those in the literature and the high–carotene group. The results support the hypothesis that lycopene cis-isomers are highly bioavailable and suggest that special tomato varieties can be utilized to increase both the intake and bioavailability of health-beneficial carotenoids.
This press release from the USDA touts their losing tomato:
USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist John R. Stommel developed the new high beta-carotene tomato lines–97L63, 97L66 and 97L97–for use in processing into paste, juices and sauces. High beta-carotene cherry and beefsteak type market tomatoes will also be released as specialty tomatoes for the fresh market.
So the yokels in Ohio just kicked the USDA’s butt. Lycopene, in case you didn’t know, is something that old men should take for the prostate.