Lycopene is an organic compound classified as a tetraterpene and a carotene. Lycopene (from the Neo-Latin Lycopersicum, the tomato species) is a bright red carotenoid hydrocarbon found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables.
Aside from tomatoes, it is found in red carrots, watermelons, grapefruits, and papayas. It is not present in strawberries or cherries. It has no vitamin A activity.
In plants, algae, and other photosynthetic organisms, lycopene is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids, including beta-carotene, which is responsible for yellow, orange, or red pigmentation, photosynthesis, and photoprotection. Like all carotenoids, lycopene is a tetraterpene. It is insoluble in water. Eleven conjugated double bonds give lycopene its deep red color. Owing to the strong color, lycopene is useful as a food coloring (registered as E160d) and is approved for use in the US, Australia and New Zealand (registered a