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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 26;58(10):6472-5. doi: 10.1021/jf100503v.

Determination of the folate content in cladodes of nopal (Opuntia ficus indica) by microbiological assay utilizing Lactobacillus casei (ATCC 7469) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

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Universidad Autónoma de Queretaro, Santiago de Querétaro, Queréetaro, Mexico.


Prickly pear cactus has been an important food source in Mexico since ancient times due to its economical and ecological benefits and potential nutraceutical value. Nevertheless, studies on the nutritional aspects and health benefits have been scarce. The purpose of this study was to assess, apparently for the first time, the folate contents of cladodes of nopal by a microbiological assay, using Lactobacillus casei (ATCC 7469) in extracts that were enzymatically treated to release the bound vitamin, employing single, dual, and trienzymatic procedures, and using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We used Opuntia cladodes of different length sizes. The microbiological assay showed some differences among enzyme treatments and sizes of nopal; the trienzyme treatment (alpha-amylase-protease-conjugase) was more efficient in determining the folate content in nopal, giving 5.0 ng/g in the small size cladodes at 54 h of testing time, while ELISA showed no significant differences in the folate content among sizes of cladodes (5.5-5.62 ng/g at 0 min testing time). Both techniques may be used for the assessment of folate content in cladodes, but ELISA is more rapid and reliable.

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