The black tomato is an Italian creation now ready to be commercialized. It was registered as "Sun Black" in 2009 and in 2014 its distribution to the public started. Sun Black was born from a project coordinated by Prof. Gian Piero Soressi, teaching at University of Tuscia in Viterbo. Other institutions involved in the research were the University of Sant'Anna in Pisa and University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The project TomANTHO lasted from 2006-2008 and was sponsored by the Minister of Education, University and Research in the field of PRIN (Research Program or National Interest).
The "Sun Black" has a high content of anthocyanin, substance that has a recognized antioxidant power usually present in insignificant amount in tomatoes. The antioxidants lie in the black peel, same as in other types of fruit such as black grapes, blueberries and strawberries. The inside remains red like other tomatoes. Anthocyanin contributes in making the Sun Black a nutraceutical product, a product with beneficial health effects. In fact, it preserves all the nutritional qualities of normal tomatoes and in addition it bares the antioxidant benefits of black fruits. This new type is not a genetically modified organism (Gmo), because its seeds come from hybridization.
"The main problem in Italy is that companies don't back up research in the agro-industrial field. Either they lack of courage to invest in innovation or they are too small to afford innovative challenges", explained to the Italian press Mr. Pierdomenico Perata, one of the coordinators of TomANTHO. The Company Ortofrutticolo from Pisa recently signed a contract with the universities to commercialize this new variety of tomato. The variety of tomato will be available in two sizes middle and small. Its distribution goes from specialized selling points to more common supermarkets.