Chemical and Nutritional Variability of Cactus Pear Cladodes, Genera Opuntia and Nopalea
The cactus pear is a culture adapted the climatic conditions of the Brazilian semi-arid and extremely important in the diet of livestock in the region. Studies have revealed that the cladodes of cactus pear have several chemical compounds that can be considered natural herbal medicines and provide additional value to their products. The objectives of this study were to characterize the chemical and nutritional variability per order of cladode of 7 varieties of cactus pear, genera Opuntia and Nopalea grown in the semi-arid region of Brazil. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted using randomly designed blocks with three replicates. The materials IPA-100003, IPA-200016, IPA-200008, IPA-100004, IPA-200021, IPA-200205 and IPA-200149 with three-years-old were evaluated for their bromatological and mineral composition. The collected data were analyzed by analysis of variance by F test and the means grouped by the Scott-Knott test (p<0.05). Results: The content of nutrients varied: Dry Matter (DM) (5.60±0.50 to 7.57±1.20%), crude protein (CP) (5.03±0.01 to 9.13±0.64% DM), ether extract (EE) (0.78±0.01 to 1.99±0.16% DM), crude fiber (CF) (6.03±0.01 to 14.43±7.34% DM), nitrogen-free extract (NFE) (30.48±0.01 to 79.33±0.01% DM), mineral matter (MM) (7.62±1.47 to 13.05±0.01% DM), nitrogen (N) (8.00±0.01 to 14.60±1.04 g kgG1 DM), phosphorus (P) (1.92±0.28 to 4.56±0.27 g kgG1 DM), potassium (K) (4.65±1.95 to 42.00±7.10 g kgG1 DM), calcium (Ca) (21.46±6.86 to 62.75±0.01 g kgG1 DM), magnesium (Mg) (9.95±1.82 to 22.02±0.01 g kgG1 DM), sodium (Na) (1.40±0.53 to 2.90±0.70 g kgG1 DM), sulfur (S) (36.67±0.22 to 1,315.59±414.35 mg kgG1 DM), iron (Fe) (59.38±8.28 to 208.21±90.75 mg kgG1 DM), copper (Cu) (9.01±0.01 to 39.65±0.01 mg kgG1 DM), zinc (Zn) (19.19±7.68 to 81.14±0.01 mg kgG1 DM) and manganese (Mn) (102.50±26.32 to 704.57±3.91 mg kgG1 DM). Conclusion: The varieties of cactus pear present genetic variability in the chemical and nutritional contents, both among genotypes and in the order of cladodes within the genotype. The content of proteins and nutrients (N, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Cu, Zn and Mn) tend to be higher in younger cladodes. The ether extract, nitrogen-free extract, crude fiber, phosphorus and sodium tend to be higher in mature cladodes.