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Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(10):6452-68. doi: 10.3390/ijms12106452. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Betalain, Acid ascorbic, phenolic contents and antioxidant properties of purple, red, yellow and white cactus pears.

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  • 1Secretary of Research and Graduate Studies, Autonomous University of Nayarit, Ciudad de la Cultura "Amado Nervo", Boulevard Tepic-Xalisco S/N. Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico; E-Mails: (J.D.G.-P.); (L.M.-C.).


Commercialization of cactus pears based on their antioxidant properties can generate competitive advantages, and these can turn into business opportunities and the development of new products and a high-value ingredient for the food industry. This work evaluated the antioxidant activities (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical-scavenging, protection against oxidation of a β-carotene-linoleic acid emulsion, and iron (II) chelation), the content of total phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid, betacyanin, betaxanthin and the stability of betacyanin pigments in presence of Cu (II)-dependent hydroxyl radicals (OH•), in 18 cultivars of purple, red, yellow and white cactus pear from six Mexican states. Our results indicated that the antiradical activities from yellow and white cactus pear cultivars were not significantly different (p < 0.05) and were lower than the average antiradical activities in red and purple cultivars. The red cactus pear from the state of Zacatecas showed the highest antioxidant activity. The free radical scavenging activity for red cactus pears was significantly correlated (p < 0.05) to the concentration of total phenolic compounds (R(2) = 0.90) and ascorbic acid (R(2) = 0.86). All 18 cultivars of cactus pears studied showed significant chelating activity of ferrous ions. The red and purple cactus pears showed a great stability when exposed to OH•.


antioxidant activity; ascorbic acid; betalain; cactus pears; phenolic compounds

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