This study aimed to evaluate, from a bio-agronomical and qualitative perspective, 15 greenhouse mini plum tomato cultivars differing for epicarp colour (yellow, orange, red and brownish), and recently introduced in South-Eastern Sicily. ‘Santy Yellow’ (yellow fruit), ‘Santy Naranja’ and ‘Bamano’ (both with orange fruit) proved the highest marketable yield (3.24 kg plant-1, on average), whereas fruit weight, shape index, firmness and dry matter content peaked in ‘Top Zohar’ (brownish fruit), ‘Dolly’, ‘Santy Yellow’ (both with yellow fruit) and ‘Santy Naranja’ (orange), respectively. Moreover, ‘Blondy’ and ‘605156’ (both yellow-fruited) showed the highest total soluble solids (10.2 °Brix) and titratable acidity (4.42 g CAE L-1), respectively. From a functional viewpoint, the brownishfruited cultivars had the highest contents of total phenols and chlorophylls (3237 mg GAE kg-1 DW and 157 mg kg-1 DW, respectively), especially in the case of ‘Thaiti’ (3571 mg GAE kg-1 DW) and ‘Dolcenera’ (201.7 mg kg-1 DW). Differently, the red-fruited cultivars showed the highest contents of total carotenoids (354 mg kg-1 dry weight), and lycopene (235 mg kg-1 DW), whereas the yellow-fruited ones displayed the lowest carotenoids accumulation, particularly in ‘Ivorino’ (33 mg kg-1 dry weight). The present study provides useful information about the adaptability of these cultivars to the greenhouse conditions thereby assisting the horticultural sector to fulfill the increasing market demands for a diversified product from a qualitative and functional viewpoint.
Keywords: Solanum lycopersicum L., marketable yield, fruit quality, total phenols, antioxidant activity, total carotenoids