Context: A team of researchers from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, has developed a nano-biosensor for detecting ‘lycopene’, a phytochemical with high commercial value. The sensor uses a portable smartphone-based upconverting reusable fluorescent paper strip.
- Lycopene, belonging to the carotenoids, is a tetraterpene compound abundantly found in tomato and tomato-based products.
- It is fundamentally recognized as a potent antioxidant and a non-pro-vitamin A carotenoid.
- It has been found to be efficient in ameliorating cancer insurgences, diabetes mellitus, cardiac complications, oxidative stress-mediated malfunctions, inflammatory events, skin and bone diseases, hepatic, neural and reproductive disorders.
Natural Sources of Lycopene:
- Tomato and tomato-based products are the major dietary sources of lycopene and account for approximately 80% of the consumption of lycopene in western countries.
- It is also present in a high amount in watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, rosehips, papaya, and apricot.
Applications of Lycopene
- Inflammation is known as one of the most important key points in cancer. Therefore, lycopene, as one of the most potent anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals, is under research in many preclinical and clinical cancer studies.
- There is scientific evidence which supports the beneficial role of lycopene against diabetes. Regarding animal studies and epidemiological surveys, it can be used for both the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
- Lycopene is a cardioprotective nutraceutical as different research showed a protective effect against atherosclerosis and several CVDs.
- It can scavenge some of the potent oxidants that are known to be associated with atherosclerosis.
- Lycopene is a well-known antioxidant. It can protect DNA, proteins, and lipids against oxidation.
- In addition, “lycopene can act on other free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydroxyl radicals”
Against Dermatologic Diseases:
- Treatment with lycopene decreased UVB-caused cell proliferation while increasing apoptosis via declining CDK2 and CDK4 in hairless SKH-1 mice and human keratinocytes.
- The lycopene consumption relieved cognitive defects, age-related memory loss, neuronal damage, and synaptic dysfunction of the brain.
- Furthermore, lycopene consumption considerably reduced age-related neuroinflammatory disorders by decreasing microgliosis (IBA-1), as well as down-regulating inflammatory mediators.
- Lycopene has several molecular and cellular effects on human osteoblasts and osteoclasts.
- It reduced osteoclast differentiation, whereas it did not change cell survival/cell density; calcium-phosphate resorbing was also reduced.
Targeting Reproductive Disorders:
- Lycopene can decrease sperm DNA fragmentation, as well as lipid peroxidation by its antioxidant activity in normospermia infertile men.
- It improved the sperm count and motility by decreasing H2O2 and lipid peroxidation, and improving mitochondrial enzymatic activity and non-enzymatic antioxidant level (GSH and ascorbate).