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Quantification of lycopene extracted from watermelon and tomato varieties from nakulabye market in Kampala, Uganda

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Author: 
Haji Khamis, Kituyi Lusweti, Haji Mwevura, Steven Nyanzi and Kiremire
Abstract: 

Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and red-fleshed watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) contain a high level of lycopene, which has been reported to have many important health benefits. Watermelon tomato varieties are available plentifully in Uganda, however, little information existing in Uganda concerning the quantity of lycopene in watermelon and tomato varieties. The objective of this study was to separate and quantify lycopene from selected watermelon and tomato varieties from Uganda. The varieties were bought from Nakulabye market in Kampala, and extracted by using solvent system of hexane/acetone/ethyl acetate (4:2:1 v/v/v). The extracts were filtered and the lycopene layer separated from the filtrate, washed, dried by rotary evaporator and then dissolved in hexane. The concentrated hexane solution was then fractionated by using an alumina column chromatography. The lycopene fractions were collected, dried by using nitrogen gas and then weighed by chemical balance. The solutions of lycopene in hexane were scanned by using UV-VIS spectrophotometer. The results obtained showed that the quantity of lycopene varies from140 μg/g to 3400 μg/g wet weight in tomato and from 326 μg/g to 1670 μg/g in watermelon. The variation is caused by different conditions. Both tomato varieties and watermelons contain appreciable quantity of lycopene necessary for daily food intake. It is advisable to investigate the best conditions for growing tomatoes and watermelons so as to contain the highest possible quantity of lycopene.

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