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Lycopene degradation and color characteristics of fresh and processed tomatoes under the different drying methods: a comparative study

Maryam Tahmasebi and Zahra Emam-Djomeh

Department of Quality Control and Assurance, Nazchin Company, Tehran, Iran



Received: 11 January 2021  Accepted: 16 March 2021


Tomato is a potentially valuable source of bioactive compounds such as lycopene. The degradation/isomerization rate of lycopene can be highly enhanced by the drying process of tomato pulps. In this study, the dehydrated tomatoes by osmotic solutions were processed by drying methods of hot air (HA), vacuum-assisted hot air (VA-HA), sun-assisted hot air (SA-HA), and microwave-assisted hot air (MA-HA). The lycopene content and color characteristics (L*, a*, b*, and ∆E values) of the dried samples to determine the favorable processing were analyzed using HPLC and Hunter-Lab colorimeter systems, respectively. Results showed that the osmotic pretreatment with a significant decrease in drying time led to a better-preserved color by reducing the degradation rate of lycopene. The samples processed with MA-HA showed the highest drying rate with a drying time of 150 min (p < 0.05). The tomatoes dried with MA-HA contained the lowest lycopene content (174.9 mg/100 g) due to serious damage to the cell wall. HA and SA-HA drying methods resulted in a similar lycopene content (1191.1 and 1287.3 mg/100 g, respectively), while the color values of samples dried by SA-HA were undesirable compared to HA ones (a*/b* = 1.36 and 3.09, respectively). A significantly negative association between lycopene content and ∆E value for osmo-dehydrated samples dried by the different methods was found (p < 0.01; r2 = 0.756–0.906). It seems that the choice of appropriate drying method accompanied by the osmotic dehydration can maintain the color of dried samples with a low degradation rate of lycopene.

Keywords: Tomato; Lycopene; Color; Osmotic dehydration; Drying; Kinetics

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-021-01611-0


Chemical Papers 75 (7) 3617–3623 (2021)

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