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A Rapid and Cheap Method for Extracting and Quantifying Lycopene Content in Tomato Sauces: Effects of Lycopene Micellar Delivery on Human Osteoblast-Like Cells.

  • Mare, Rosario1
  • Maurotti, Samantha2
  • Ferro, Yvelise3
  • Galluccio, Angelo1
  • Arturi, Franco3
  • Romeo, Stefano3, 4
  • Procopio, Antonio2
  • Musolino, Vincenzo5
  • Mollace, Vincenzo6
  • Montalcini, Tiziana1, 7
  • Pujia, Arturo3, 7
  • 1 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University "Magna Græcia" of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 2 Department of Health Sciences, University "Magna Græcia" of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 3 Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University "Magna Græcia" of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 4 Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Center for Cardiovascolar and Metabolic Research, University of Gothenburg, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 5 IRC-FSH-Pharmaceutical Biology-Department of Health Sciences, University "Magna Græcia" of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 6 IRC-FSH Department of Health Sciences, University "Magna Græcia" of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 7 Research Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Diseases, University "Magna Græcia", 88100 Catanzaro, Italy. , (Italy)
Published Article
Publication Date
Feb 08, 2022
DOI: 10.3390/nu14030717
PMID: 35277076


Identifying and quantifying the beneficial molecules contained in nutraceuticals is essential to predict the effects derived from their consumption. This study explores a cheap and rapid method for quantifying lycopene content from a semi-solid matrix. In addition, it compares the in vitro effects of the extracts obtained from different tomato sauces available on the local market with Osteocol®, a patented tomato sauce from southern Italy. We performed a liquid extraction of lycopene using suitable solvents. The lycopene extracted was encapsulated in surfactant micelles and finally tested in vitro on Saos-2 cells. The effects exerted by lycopene on ALP and Wnt/β-catenin pathways were investigated by Western blotting. Hexane was found to be the best solvent for lycopene extraction. Spectrophotometrical and HPLC analyses showed similar trends. Osteocol® contained 39 ± 4 mg lycopene per 100 g of sauce, while the best commercial product contained 19 ± 1 mg/100 g. The Osteocol® lycopene extract increased ALP and β-catenin protein expressions in a dose-dependent manner, also showing statistically significant results (p < 0.05 respectively). In conclusion, despite both techniques showing similar final results, UV/VIS spectrophotometer is preferable to HPLC due to its cheap, rapid, and accurate results, as well as for the opportunity to analyze lycopene-loaded micelles. The extraction and release of lycopene to bone cells positively influences the differentiation of osteoblasts and increases the expression of the ALP and β-catenin proteins. As a consequence, as a lycopene-rich sauce, Osteocol® represents a useful supplement in the prevention of osteoporosis compared to its commercial competitors.

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