Organic Lycopene


Organic lycopene1,2,3 is a unique highly innovative product that differs from both synthetic and natural lycopene in terms of quality and production technology. Organic lycopene has the following characteristics:

Pomodoro   the only lycopene certified: 100% natural and organic

Pomodoro   absence of toxicity

Pomodoro   improved natural bioavailability

Pomodoro   improved antioxidant and anticancer activity


Organic lycopene is extracted by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) from red-ripe tomato matrices (not skins or other derived wastes). The extract is composed by a mixture of natural compounds, including, in addition to lycopene, other carotenoids (β-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin), polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), phytosterols and traces of vitamins.

Organic lycopene is obtained by extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) from organic certified red-ripe tomatoes. This process does not involve the use of chemical solvents, so the finished product is solvent-free, 100% natural and organic certified.


Organic lycopene is obtained from organic red-ripe tomatoes certified. Tomatoes are pesticides-free, dioxins-free, heavy metals-free, OGM-free.

Organic lycopene is obtained at moderate temperature (70°C) with a process based on an exclusively physic principle.

Because this procedure does not involve the use of chemical solvents, the finished product is:

  • solvent-free
  • toxic reaction by-products-free
  • impurity-free

Organic lycopene is the unique lycopene 100% natural without any form of toxicity.



In a nutritional supplement, lycopene bioavailability value is usually different from lycopene content. Bioavailability is an important parameter for a nutritional supplement, as it is an evaluation tool of its efficacy and action. Bioavailability is used to describe the quantity of lycopene (or any drug) that reaches the systemic circulation and is available at the site of action. The exceeding molecules are removed from the body.

Lycopene bioavailability depends on different factors:

  • lycopene molecular structure, such as physical state, crystal dimensions, isomeric configurations
  • physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture, such as lipid content, ß-carotene content, uniformity of the extract, lycopene dosage


Lycopene bioavailability is highly influenced by the crystalline state14.

Synthetic lycopene has a purity of 90-95%, it is in the form of large and regular crystals obtained after crystallization from a solution in chemical solvents and with low impurities content.

Natural lycopene has a purity of approximately 50-60%, it is in the form of small and not very regular crystals obtained after crystallization from a solution in chemical solvents and with higher impurities content.

Organic lycopene is present in the extract as a viscose solution in lipids which are co-extracted with it.

The lycopene absorption and passage into the systemic circulation depends on crystal stability, organic lycopene being already in solution is promptly absorbed and available.

Lycopene bioavailability depends on the dimension of crystals. Recent studies demonstrated that smaller crystals are more easily dissolved in the human body and hence absorbed more rapidly than larger ones (500 nm crystals are 30% more absorbed than 5 mm ones).

Organic lycopene represents the best form for its assimilation because is fundamentally not present in a crystalline state.

Properties of Lycopene: cristall size

In other conditions being equal, lycopene bioavailability increases with decreasing size of the cristalli16. Scientific studies have shown that, by reducing the size of the lycopene crystals (from 5 μm to 500 nm, that is, about 10 times), it may increase the efficiency of the absorption process up to 30%.

Lycopene molecular structure: isomeric configuration

In nature, lycopene trans-form is more abundant (>90%) than cis-form, but in human tissues this ratio is the opposite (cis-isomer is >60%). The cis-form is, in fact, more bioavailable due to a reduced ability to form large crystals with respect to the trans-form. The isomerization from trans – cis could take place during the extraction process or during digestive processes. The two isomeric forms have the same biological activity, but cis -form is more absorbed in human tissues than the trans-one.

A higher cis / trans ratio is strictly connected to a higher bioavailability.

Organic lycopene has a cis / trans ratio 10-20 points higher than the ones of synthetic and natural lycopene.

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: lipid content

Carotenoids are absorbed by the human digestive system with the same emulsification mechanism that allows lipid assimilation. Their absorption depends also on their prompt release from food. The presence of oils or fats accelerates this process promoting the solubilisation of the carotenoid crystals enclosed in foods. Since lipids improves carotenoid absorption at the intestinal level, lycopene containing nutritional supplements include high percentages of vegetable oils. Moreover the absence.

Synthetic and natural lycopene can be used in nutritional supplements only diluted with vegetable oils, as high concentration and purity are strictly connected to very low chemical stability and bioavailability. Lycopene is diluted and stabilized by adding vegetable oils, preservatives and other additives. The final concentration of lycopene in nutritional supplements could be in a very large range, from 0,1% up to 10%.

Organic lycopene could be used itself as nutritional supplement because it does not need any form of dilution or solubilisation with external oils. The extraction process by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) allows to obtain an extract, in which lycopene is uniformly solubilised in the co-extracted vegetable oil. This procedure avoids also the formation of large and stable lycopene crystals with great advantage for lycopene bioavailability.

Lycopene bulk

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: β-carotene content

Organic lycopene contains also several carotenoids extracted from tomatoes, such as b-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, phytofluene, etc. Recent studies have demonstrated that lycopene bioavailability is enhanced by the presence of β-carotene8.

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: concentration uniformity of the extract

The organic lycopene extract is characterised by an elevated concentration uniformity of lycopene. The absence of lycopene homogeneity or the presence of large and stable crystals could reduce lycopene absorption and consequently the efficacy of the product.

Physical and chemical properties of the lycopene mixture: dosaggio del licopene

La biodisponibilità del licopene non è proporzionale alla sua quantità16. Per ragioni commerciali gli integratori preparati con licopene sintetico o naturale possono presentare un dosaggio di licopene più elevato di quello necessario. Tale fatto può non essere positivo. Infatti un’ elevata concentrazione di licopene nel prodotto finale può ridurre sia l’efficienza del processo di assorbimento9,16 che la sua attività antiossidante10, anziché aumentarle.

L’assunzione media giornaliera di licopene consigliata, varia da Paese a Paese; tuttavia è universalmente accettata una dose media di 2,5 mg/giorno17. Anche se non ufficiale, alcuni studi suggeriscono un dosaggio di licopene di 7 mg/giorno.

Il dosaggio di licopene presente nell’integratore preparato con licopene biologico è di 4,5 mg/dose.


The extraction process, by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) or by chemical solvents, is not selective, as it gives:

  • Lycopene
  • Other compounds

The “other compounds” are very important for health and include: vitamins (E, K), carotenoids (β-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, etc.), polyphenols, essential amino acids (alanine, leucine, tryptophan), polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids).

Natural lycopene is obtained by a process that leads up to high percentages of impurities and extraction chemical solvents. This product needs further purification steps, in order to reduce the toxicity of the final product, but the purification involve also the loss of other important antioxidants, present in the raw materials.

Organic lycopene has a high antioxidant activity. It is a mixture of lycopene and other compounds that work in synergy11 to give a stronger and more effective antioxidant action.

Recent studies demonstrate that, on equal concentrations, a solution of organic lycopene exhibits an antioxidant and anticancer activity at least 100 times higher than that of a solution of pure lycopene (synthetic or natural). This is confirmed by FDA13 studies that underlined that, although a regular consumption of fresh tomatoes (or tomato derivatives) may reduce the incidence of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, the same preventive effects were not evidenced by supplying dietary supplements containing pure lycopene. This suggests that the optimal biological activity of lycopene is reached only in the presence of other natural molecules contained in  the tomatoes which may act synergistically.

Summary Table of Syntetic, Natural & Organic Lycopene Characteristics

References & Literature:

1) Certificato Nr.: IT BIO 006 PL0328 del “Licopene da agricoltura biologica”

2) Sito del Ministero della Ricerca Italiana: → innovazione ed imprese → alcuni esempi → produzione biologica di licopene naturale → Licopene biologico → Pierre.

3) Patent WO/2008/015490 Title “Food supplement based on Biological Lycopene and process to obtain Biological Licopene”

4) Boileau AC, Merchen NR, Wasson K, Atkinson CA,.. -University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign- USA. Cis-lycopene is more bioavailable than Trans-lycopene in vitro and in vivo in lymph-cannulated ferrets J. Nutr; 1999, Jun.12

5) Dr. A. Venket Rao. Tomatoes, Lycopene & Human Health – Preventing Chronic Diseases. Edited by Caledonian Science Press 2006.

6) Ahuja KD, Pittaway JK, Ball MJ. School of Human Life Sciences, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia. Effects of olive oil and tomato lycopene combination on serum lycopene, lipid profile, and lipid oxidation. Nutrition. 2006 Jan 12.

7) Michael McClain R, Bausch J. – McClain Associates, Randolph, NJ, USA – Summary of safety studies conducted with synthetic lycopene. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2003 Apr.

8) Jhonson FJ, Qin J, Krinsky Ni, Russel RM - Ingestion by men of a combined dose of β-carotene and lycopene does not affect the absorption of β-carotene but improves that of lycopene. J Nutr. 1997.

9) Agarwal S, Rao AV – Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ont. Tomato lycopene and its role in human health and chronic diseases. CMAJ 2000 Sep 19

10) Lowe GM, Booth LA, Young AJ ,Bilton RF, School of Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool. Lycopene and β-carotene protect against oxidative damage in HT29 cells at low concentrations but rapidally lose his capacity at higher doses. – Free Radic. Re. 1999 Beb 30(2) 141-51

11) Fuhrman B, Volkova N. Rosenblat M, Aviram M. – Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Haifa, Israel. Lycopene synergistically inhibits LDL oxidation in combination with Vitamin E, glabridin, rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, or garlic – Antioxid Redox Signal. 2000 Fall .

12) Leticia G. Rao, et .., University of Toronto. Endocrinology Round. Will tomatoes prevent osteoporosis? February 2005 Volume 5, Issue 2.

13) Laurie Budgar “FDA approves Lycopene Claim”. Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals, Jan 2006

14) Zhou J.-R., Gugger , E.T. & Erdman,J.W (1996). The crystalline form of carotenes and the food matrix in carrot root decrease the relative bioavailability of beta end alfa Carotene in the ferret model. J.Am. Coll. Nutr. 15:84-91

15) Thomas W., M. Boileau, Amy C. Boileau and John W.Erdman Jr. Bioavailaibility of all-trans and cis-isomers of lycopene. Experimental Biology and Medicine (2002) 227:914-919

16) Myriam Richelle, Karlheinz Bortlik, Stephanie Liardet, Corinne Hager, Pierre Lambelet, Markus Baur, Lee A. Applegate and Elizabeth A. Offord – Department of Nutrition, Nestlè Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland. A Food-Based Formulation Provides Lycopene with the Same Bioavailability to Humans as That from Tomato Paste. J. Nutr. 132: 404-408, 2002.

17) Rao, A. V. & Argawal, S. (1998) Bioavailability and in vivo antioxidant properties of lycopene from tomato products and their possible role in the prevention of cancer. Nutr. Cancer 3: 199-203.