Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 146–152 | Cite as

Phenolic Composition, Antioxidant Capacity and In Vitro Cancer Cell Cytotoxicity of Nine Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) Juices

  • R. A. Chavez-Santoscoy
  • J. A. Gutierrez-Uribe
  • S. O. Serna-SaldívarEmail author
Original Paper


Juices of nine prickly pears (Opuntia spp.) were characterized in terms of color, acidity, sugar content, phenolics, flavonoids, betalains and antioxidant activity and tested in vitro against four cancer cell lines. The juices had pH´s, acidities and sugar ranging from 4.27 to 5.46, 0.03 to 0.27% and 8 to 14.7°Brix, respectively. Juices also varied in color from white to purple and contained total phenolics, flavonoids, betaxanthins, betacyanins and antioxidant capacity ranging from 22 to 226 µg gallic acid eq/g, 95 to 374 µg quercetin eq/g, 3 to 189 µg/g, 1.6 to 300 µg/g and 17 to 25 micromoles Trolox eq./mL, respectively. Among the cancer lines tested, viability of prostate and colon cells were the most affected. Moradillo contained the highest flavonoids and diminished both prostate and colon cancer cell viability without affecting mammary or hepatic cancer cells. Rastrero reduced the growth of the four cancer cell lines without affecting normal fibroblast viability. The research shows intervarietal differences among prickly pears in terms of juice properties and phytochemicals that could prevent oxidative stress and cancer.


Prickly pear Flavonoids Betalains Antioxidant activity Cancer cells 



This research was supported by grants CAT-005 from Tecnológico de Monterrey and CONACYT SEP-2004-01-45723. Authors would like to thank Ing. Jose A. Garza and Gerardo Rayas Tovar for kindly providing the set of prickly pears. The senior author would like to acknowledge financial support provided by Alma Bours de Antillon.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Chavez-Santoscoy
    • 1
  • J. A. Gutierrez-Uribe
    • 1
  • S. O. Serna-Saldívar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Biotecnología e Ingeniería de AlimentosTecnológico de MonterreyMonterreyMéxico

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