Biosynthesis and degradation of α-tomatine in developing tomato fruits

Elsadig A. Eltayeb*, James G. Roddick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Fruits of tomato incorporated [2-14C]mevalonic acid lactone into the steroidal glycoalkaloid α-tomatine. Young fruits showed the greatest alkaloid-synthesizing ability but this decreased as the fruits developed. Analysis of sap exuded from fruit stalks and also application of[4-14C]cholesterol to leaves confirmed that tomatine is not transported into fruits from vegetative organs. Accumulation of this alkaloid in fruits thus appears entirely due to synthesis. Excised fruits of all developmental stages degraded injected [14C]tomatine and rates were directly related to fruit age. The pattern of accumulation/decline in fruit tomatine may be explicable on the basis of changing capacity for synthesis/degradation during development. Label from injected [14C]tomatine was present mainly in chlorophylls and carotenoids where it increased with time as that in tomatine decreased. The significance of the relationship between tomatine disappearance and carotenoid development is briefly discussed. The aglycone tomatidine was not detected in green fruits but a Δ16-5α-pregnenolone-like compound was.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 5 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Solanaceae
  • biosynthesis
  • degradation.
  • fruit
  • tomato
  • α-tomatine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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