As the fruit matures the pigment changes from green to orange to red. The first pigment change is a fading of the green color due to the transformation of chloroplasts into chromoplasts resulting in a decrease in chlorophyll concentration. The initial increase in B-carotene concentration results in the orange pigment. The final red color is due to the subsequent high concentrations of lycopene.(Grierson and Kader 1986)

Chromoplasts in tomato fruit parenchyma cells under polarized light

photograph courtesy of Dr. David

Introduction | Flowers&Fruit | Roots | Stems | Leaves

© Thomas L. Rost 1996
Section of Plant Biology Division of Biological Sciences