Composition of pulp, skin and seeds of prickly pears fruit (Opuntia ficus indica sp.)


The proximate composition of pulp, skin and seeds of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) was investigated and is reported on a dry weight basis. The most abundant component of the pulp and skin was ethanol-soluble carbohydrates. Pulp contained glucose (35%) and fructose (29%) while the skin contained essentially glucose (21%). Protein content was 5.1% (pulp), 8.3% (skin) and 11.8% (seeds). Starch was found in each of the three parts of the fruit. Pulp fibers were rich in pectin (14.4%), skin and seeds were rich in cellulose (29.1 and 45.1%, respectively). Skin was remarkable for its content of calcium (2.09%) and potassium (3.4%). Prickly pear is a neglected nutritional source which should be more widely used because of its potential nutrient contribution.

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Correspondence to Christian Villaume.

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El Kossori, R.L., Villaume, C., El Boustani, E. et al. Composition of pulp, skin and seeds of prickly pears fruit (Opuntia ficus indica sp.). Plant Foods Hum Nutr 52, 263–270 (1998).

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  • Carbohydrate
  • Fiber
  • Minerals
  • Prickly pear
  • Protein