Pigments content, other compounds and antioxidant capacity in 12 cactus pear cultivars (Opuntia spp.) from México
The cactus pear (Opuntia spp.) is a phytogenetic resource of Mexico of high nutritious value whose native cultivars had not been previously characterized. The aim of this work was to study the content of some chemical compounds and the antioxidant potential in 12 pear cultivars, namely, Cristalina, Mansa and Vaquera (O. albicarpa), Amarilla Diamante (O. ficus-indica) and Mango (O. Albicarpa), Amarilla Montesa and Pico Chulo (O. megacantha), Pabellón (O. ficus-indica), Rosa de Castilla and Torreoja (O. megacantha), Cacalote (O. cochinera) and Tapón Aguanoso (O. robusta var Robusta).The work was conducted in the Departmento de Fitotecnia of the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. The experimental design was completely randomized, and an analysis of variance and the Tukey mean comparison test were carried out. The ascorbic acid content was higher in Cacalote with 25 mg 100 g-1. The cultivars with white and yellow tuna showed more (p≤0.05) chlorophyll, while white tuna had less carotene. The higher contents (p≤0.05) of betacyanin and betaxanthin were found in Tapón Aguanoso and Cacalote with 681.94 and 428.96 mg L-1 of betanin and 276.10 and 249.55 mg L-1 of indicaxanthin.The highest concentration of phenols was present in Tapón Aguanoso (420.66 mg L-1), with purple fruit, and Amarilla Diamante (348.16 mg L-1) and Mango (328.74 mg L-1), with yellow fruit. The antioxidant capacity was similar in all cultivars, with concentrations between 6.12 and 9.58 µmol eq TROLOX g-1. The fruits tested, due to the presence of betalains, could be used to extract pigments and be utilized in industry as a source of natural pigments or natural source of antioxidants.