Glycoalkaloids

Glycoalkaloids and their toxic effects are commonly associated with Solanaceous species. Tomato accumulates the glycoalkaloids a-tomatine and dehydro-tomatine in a 10:1 ratio (Madhavi and Salunkhe 1998). Tomatine consumption is associated with reduced LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In contrast with potato glycoalkaloids, tomato glycoalkaloids appear to be less toxic for human consumption, presumably because they are eliminated from the body as an insoluble tomatine-cholesterol complex (Kozukue and Friedman 2003). A survey of wild tomato species for genetic variation in tomatine concentration identified the highest levels in an S. chmielewskii accession (Courtney and Lambeth 1977). Ricket al. (1994b) identified an unusual bitter-fruited S. lycopersicum accession that retains high tomatine levels in ripe fruit. Tomatine retention was controlled by a single recessive gene and presumably encodes a defective tomatine-degrading enzyme that is normally active in ripening fruit.

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