Determination of Antioxidant Constituents in Cactus Pear Fruits
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An analytical study was carried out on the presence of antioxidant constituents and the in vitro antioxidant capacity in the extracts of three species of Spanish red-skinned cactus pear fruits (Opuntia ficus-indica, Opuntia undulata and Opuntia stricta). The cactus pear fruit extracts were analyzed for determined constituents: ascorbic acid, flavonoids (quercetin, isorhamnetin, myricetin, kaempferol and luteolin), betalains, taurine, total carotenoids and total phenolics. The antioxidant capacity was assessed by means of two different methods: the 2,2′-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity) method and the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical method. Opuntia ficus-indica fruit extract had the strongest antioxidant capacity and taurine content. O. stricta fruits were the richest in ascorbic acid and total phenolics, whereas O. undulata fruits showed the highest carotenoid content. Quercetin and isorhamnetin were the main flavonoids detected. This study provides basic information on the presence of bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity in extracts of cactus pear fruits, in order to consider these extracts as ingredient for the production of health-promoting food.
KeywordsAntioxidants Bioactive compounds Cactaceae Cactus pear fruits Opuntia
This work was financially supported from the Department of Education and Science (MEC) of Spain, project AGL2004-01871. Valuable suggestions made by the reviewers are acknowledged.
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