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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) belongs to the Solanaceae family and is the second
most important fruit or vegetable crop next to potato (
Solanum tuberosum L.). It is
cultivated for fresh fruit and processed products. Tomatoes contain many healthpromoting compounds including vitamins, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds. In
addition to its economic and nutritional importance, tomatoes have become the model for
the study of
fleshy fruit development. Tomato is a climacteric fruit and dramatic metabolic
changes occur during its fruit development. In this review, we provide an overview of our
current understanding of tomato fruit metabolism. We begin by detailing the genetic and
hormonal control of fruit development and ripening, after which we document the primary
metabolism of tomato fruits, with a special focus on sugar, organic acid, and amino acid
metabolism. Links between primary and secondary metabolic pathways are further
highlighted by the importance of pigments,
flavonoids, and volatiles for tomato fruit
quality. Finally, as tomato plants are sensitive to several abiotic stresses, we brie
summarize the effects of adverse environmental conditions on tomato fruit metabolism
and quality.