Dietary fiber, mineral elements profile and macronutrients composition in different edible parts of Opuntia microdasys (Lehm.) Pfeiff and Opuntia macrorhiza (Engelm.) uri icon


  • Nowadays, we are living in the era of functional foods. People are constantly seeking for new healthier food products, mainly derived from plants, with bioactive components such as fiber and/or mineral elements, in suitable and healthy ratios. Cactus (Opuntia spp.), which includes more than 1500 species, presents high potential to be considered as a functional food, as it was revealed by the phytochemical profiles and antioxidant activity previously demonstrated in different botanical parts of Opuntia microdasys (Lehm.) Pfeiff and Opuntia macrorhiza (Engelm.). In this follow-up work, morphological characters, nutritional composition, and particularly fiber and mineral elements profiles of these two species were characterized in the cladodes, pulp and seeds. Most of these parameters were also studied in their juice. Both species presented similar chemical profiles, but each of the different studied botanical parts presented great differences, as revealed by principal component analysis. Accordingly, the obtained results reinforce Opuntia spp. as a potential functional food, indicating also the botanical parts with highest adequacy to act as source of a specific constituent.
  • The authors are grateful to Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal) for financial support to CIMO (strategic project PEst-OE/AGR/UI0690/2011) and ALIMNOVA research group (UCM-GR35/10A). J.C.M. Barreira thanks FCT, POPH-QREN and FSE for his grant (SFRH/BPD/72802/2010). L. Barros thanks “Compromisso para a Ciência 2008” for her contract.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015