Anthocyanins in tomato

image descriptionRead here a review on anthocyanins in tomato

Read here an article on anthocyanins in tomato (in Italian)




 Tomato (Solanum lycopersicon L.) is cultivated all over high-anthocyanin_tomatoes.jpgthe world as annual crop (for few months up to nearly the whole year) in open field and under greenhouse conditions for both fresh consumption and industrial processing (canned products, fruit juice, etc.). The nutraceutical properties of tomato are mainly related to the antioxidant potential of tomato, which in turn is due to the presence of a mix of antioxidant bio-molecules like lycopene, ascorbic acid, phenolics, flavonoids and vitamin E. On the other hand, tomato fruits do not normally contain significant concentration of anthocyanins, substances with a well known nutraceutical value.

The aim of this research project is the production of high-anthocyanin containing tomatoes.
In order to achieve this goal, the project will take advantage of the joint efforts of researchers well qualified in horticulture, crop physiology, genetics and breeding.

More in detail, these are the objectives of the project:

  1. to investigate the influence of growing conditions, including cultivation season and the salinity of irrigation water, on the accumulation of anthocyanins and other pigments in the fruits of selected genotypes of Solanum lycopersicon
  2. the description of the physiology of anthocyanin synthesis in tomato, including the identification of regulatory genes as well as genes encoding for the enzymes involved in the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathways. Furthermore, the effects of sugars and of plant hormones will also be investigated. This information will be used as tools in breeding as well as for establishing optimal growth conditions to enhance anthocyanin synthesis in tomato
  3. the creation of tomato breeding lines which possess a high anthocyanin content in the plant as well as in the fruit, by combining monomendelian mutants differing in the anthocyanin content of the plant and the fruit
  4. the identification of suitable molecular markers to support the breeding activities
  5. the identification of the role of anthocyanins in the response to biotic (Xanthomonas campestris pv vesicatoria; Alternaria) and abiotic (chilling, salinity) stress.

Our lab investigates the role of transcription factors regulating anthocyanin synthesis in Arabidopsis and Tomato. We have shown that Arabidopsis MYB75 plays an important role in the sucrose-dependent anthocyanin synthesis. Additionally we also demonstrated the existence of a complex regulatory network involving both sugars and hormones in the regulation of anthocyanin synthesis. We recently showed that the expression of the Arabidopsis MYB75 can enhance anthocyanin production in tomato.