J Agric Food Chem 2008 Feb 1;56(4):1241-50. Epub 2008 Feb 1.
INRA, UR1115 Plantes et Systèmes de culture Horticoles, Domaine St. Paul, Site Agroparc, Avignon, France.
The objective of this study was to understand the respective impact of ripening stage, temperature, and irradiance on seasonal variations of tomato fruit quality. During ripening, concentrations in reducing sugars, carotenes, ascorbate, rutin, and caffeic acid derivates increased, whereas those in titratable acidity, chlorophylls, and chlorogenic acid content decreased. Fruit temperature and irradiance affected final fruit composition. Sugars and acids (linked to fruit gustative quality) were not considerably modified, but secondary metabolites with antioxidant properties were very sensitive to fruit environment. Increased fruit irradiance enhanced ascorbate, lycopene, beta-carotene, rutin, and caffeic acid derivate concentrations and the disappearance of oxidized ascorbate and chlorophylls. Increasing the temperature from 21 to 26 degrees C reduced total carotene content without affecting lycopene content. A further temperature increase from 27 to 32 degrees C reduced ascorbate, lycopene, and its precursor's content, but enhanced rutin, caffeic acid derivates, and glucoside contents. The regulation by light and temperature of the biosynthesis pathways of secondary metabolites is discussed.