Tropical Plant Biology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 136–150 | Cite as

Opuntia and Other Cacti: Applications and Biotechnological Insights

  • Utkarsha U. Shedbalkar
  • Vinayak S. Adki
  • Jyoti P. Jadhav
  • Vishwas A. BapatEmail author


The cactus family is unusual among tropical plants. Cacti, known for their minimum water requirement, have been grown extensively in arid lands, for food, feeds and medicinal and therapeutic uses.Several food products have cacti as a main ingredient. Cacti biochemical analysis substantiate the high nutritive value of this plant family. Tissue cultures, including micropropagation, callus, and cell suspension cultures have been established for numerous cacti species. Genetic engineering has opened opportunities for gene isolation and integration of genes from other sources for cacti improvement. Cacti might be a store house of stress tolerant genes for other crops. Since cacti can be cultivated easily with minimum agriculture inputs, they hold great potential for cultivation and farming on degraded lands and for at least partial remediation of degraded lands. The present review outlines some of the older and more recent research on the properties and applications for Opuntia and other cacti especially as they might apply towards agricultural sustainability.


Biochemical analysis Cactus Food products Genetic engineering Medicines Phytoremediation Tissue culture 







daily live-weight gain


2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid


dry-matter intake






low density lipoprotein


total live-weight gain


Murashige and Skoog


1-naphtalenacetic acid


stem flour


wheat flour


Gibberelic acid



UUS is thankful to Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi for providing a financial assistance in the form of Senior Research Fellowship (SRF). VSA is thankful to Shivaji University, Kolhapur for Departmental Research Fellowship (DRF). VAB wishes to thank CSIR, New Delhi for Emeritus Scientist Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Utkarsha U. Shedbalkar
    • 1
  • Vinayak S. Adki
    • 2
  • Jyoti P. Jadhav
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vishwas A. Bapat
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryShivaji UniversityKolhapurIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyShivaji UniversityKolhapurIndia

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