Beta-carotene

Golden/Orange tomatoes can either contain Tetra-cis-lycopene or Beta-carotene, as both these compounds produce tomatoes in the golden to orange colour spectrum. Chemical analysis will confirm which compound is present reflected in the skin pigmentation.

Beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant and may protect against free radical damage (1). Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the human body and is an essential nutrient for humans. Vitamin A deficiency affects a staggering percentage of the population, especially in the developing world. (2) It is the leading cause of blindness in children. and is also associated with increased burden of infectious disease. (3) (4)

For several years we have grown a high Beta-carotene selection of ours that we named ‘Golden Eye’ with the hope that it may be able to reduce the incidence of childhood blindness. In 2020 we found that two separate plants had morphed and produced bigger tomatoes – these we named ‘Golden Eye Improved’ and ‘Oracle’. Both new varieties are very high in Beta-carotene and may contain the highest levels of any tomatoes, as well as containing interesting levels of several polyphenolic compounds.

For our 2020 year data analysis of our tomatoes please click here.

Golden Eye Original

Golden Eye Improved

‘Oracle’ (Golden Eye version 3)

Comparison Golden Eye Original (left) with Golden Eye Improved (right)

  1. Stommel John R, USDA 97L63, 97L66, and 97L97: Tomato Breeding Lines with High Fruit Beta-carotene Content. HortScience 36(2):387-388. 2001
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). Global prevalence of vitamin A deficiency. Micronutrient Deficiency Information System (MDIS) Working Paper 2 [on the Internet]. Geneva: WHO. 1995 [cited 2012 Sept 13].Available from: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2009/9789241598019_eng.pdf.
  3. West KP Jr. Vitamin A deficiency disorders in children and women. Food Nutr Bull 2003;24:S78–90.
  4. Kopec Rachel E, Cooperstone Jessica L, Schweiggert Ralf M, Young Gregory S, Harrison Earl H, Francis David M, Clinton Steven K, Schwartz Steven J, Avocado Consumption Enhances Human Postprandial Provitamin A Absorption and Conversion from a Novel Hihh-B-Carotene Tomato Sauce and from Carrots. The Journal of Nutrition, June 4 2014 as doi:10.3945/jn.113.187674