Lycopene: Preventing Degradation

Lycopene: Preventing Degradation

Author: Lucie Kalvodova

Lycopene is a natural carotenoid occurring in tomatoes and many other non-animal sources including fruits, vegetables and microorganisms. Lycopene has been shown to provide many health benefits such as reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, effect on the eye and bone health or hepatoprotective properties. These health benefits together with its red color make it an attractive ingredient for functional foods.

In foods, lycopene can be successfully delivered in the form of oil-in-water emulsions, but in order to preserve its unique antioxidant properties, it has to be protected from premature oxidation.

Ricard Bou, University of Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts, USA, studied the effects of various antioxidants on lycopene degradation in Tween 20 stabilized lycopene emulsions. The scientists have identified a combination of α-tocopherol and gallic acid as the most effective.

The results of this study can be applied to increase the shelf-life of functional foods where lycopene is present in the form of an oil-in-water emulsion.

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