The health benefits of tomato, a vegetable consumed daily in human diets, have received great attention in the scientific community, and a great deal of experiments have tested their utility against several diseases. A group of researched now created a scientometric analysis of recent works aimed to estimate the biological effects of tomato, focusing on bibliographic metadata, type of testers, target systems, and methods of analysis.
"The present analysis of the literature on the biological effects of tomato highlighted a wide variability of all experimental design facets. Most of the studies presented promising results, although their comparability was hampered by the lack of standard procedures and guidelines. Several issues of potential interest for future research emerged, such as the importance of the ripening stage, the specialty of genetic variants, the effects of digestion, and the correlation between in vitro and in vivo experiments," they conclude.
"Fostering these topics, plant geneticists could produce novel bio-fortiﬁed tomato varieties, with higher health beneﬁts and resilience of bioactive compounds against extraction, digestion, and processing. The present inventory gives an indication that the best approach to assess the health beneﬁts of tomato and tomato products can only be reached with the contribution of all the players of this scientiﬁc chain, that starts with plant selection and ends with clinical trials. As the expectation on the impact of the diet and of fortiﬁed nutrients on human health is high and citizens show a growing interest on nutraceutical aspects of food, the establishment of speciﬁc cluster and cooperation programs is advisable."
Multivariate analysis showed that publications in journals indexed in the agriculture category were associated with the use of fresh tomatoes; conversely, medicine and pharmacology journals were associated with the use of purified and formulate testers.
Studies conducted in the United States of America preferentially adopted in vivo systems and formulates, combined with blood and tissue analysis. Researchers in Italy, China, India, and Great Britain mostly carried out in vitro research using fresh tomatoes. Gene expression and proteomic analyses were associated with China and India.
The emerging scenario evidences the somewhat dichotomic approaches of plant geneticists and agronomists and that of cell biologists and medicine researchers. "A higher integration between these two scientific communities would be desirable to foster the assessment of the benefits of tomatoes to human health," they conclude.
Francesca, Tilesi & Lombardi, Andrea & Mazzucato, Andrea. (2021). Scientometric and Methodological Analysis of the Recent Literature on the Health-Related Effects of Tomato and Tomato Products. Foods. 10. 1905. 10.3390/foods10081905.