Monday 5th July 2010, 12:41 London
Italian producers unveil 'supertomato'
New, lycopene-rich tomato bred using natural techniques presented during Coldiretti farmers' assembly in Rome
Italian producers have unveiled a new 'supertomato' which they claim has the potential to slow the ageing process as well as offering better quality and taste.
Presented during Italian farming association Coldiretti's annual assembly in Rome, the as yet unnamed tomato variety is said to contain higher-than-normal levels of the red pigment lycopene (in excess of 50 per cent, in fact), an important anti-oxidant capable of neutralising free radicals in the human body.
According to reports, the product – which weighs around 70g and is slightly square in terms of its shape – has been grown naturally by cooperatives in Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy in northern Italy, with Coldiretti keen to point out that genetically modified organisms were not used in its development.
Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti, Agriculture Minister Giancarlo Galan and Labour Minister Maurizio Sacconi were on hand at the meeting to try out a pasta sauce made using the tomatoes.
"The anti-ageing super tomato is also effective in helping prevent cardiovascular diseases and tumours," said a spokesperson for Coldiretti.
A number of recent scientific studies have identified lycopene as having the potential to help combat medical conditions including heart attacks, strokes and prostate cancer.
Earlier this year, scientists at the Naples National Research Centre announced the development of Maxantia, another so-called 'super-tomato' containing high concentrations of lycopene.
Maxantia was bred using existing varieties San Marzano and the Black Tomato, an antioxidant-rich, purple fruit.