Physicochemical, phytochemical and antioxidant properties of juice and seed oil of cactus pear Opuntia aequatorialis and Opuntia leucotricha

Research Articles | Published:

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email:
Doi: 10.1007/s42535-020-00158-x
First Page: 682
Last Page: 689
Views: 1796

Keywords: Antioxidant, Chromatography, Fruit juice, Opuntia , Phytochemical, Seed oil


The present study aims to design for the first time the physicochemical properties, fatty acids, tocopherols and phytosterols of cactus juice and seed oil from O. aequatorialis (O.A) and O. leucotricha (O.L) than compared with two other species widely studied [O. ficus indica (O.F.I) and O. megacantha (O.M)]. Fatty acids and phytosterols were quantified by gas chromatography; whereas tocopherols were performed by HPLC. The physicochemical results showed that O.A exhibited the highest levels of acidity and proteins. The highest Vitamin C content was recorded in the juice of O.M species. Total phytosterols and tocopherols content are highest in the seed oil of O.A and O.F.I species with β-sitosterol and γ-tocopherol, the major isoforms detected. Oleic and linoleic acids were detected in fatty acids profile. The juice exhibits strong antioxidant activity. Fruits of O.A and O.L own substantial antioxidant ingredients offering add value for functional foods and contributing to the development of food and nutritional products.

Antioxidant, Chromatography, Fruit juice, 
              , Phytochemical, Seed oil

*Get Access

(*Only SPR Members can get full access. Click Here to Apply and get access)



  1. Abd El-Razek FH, Hassan AA (2011) Nutritional value and hypoglycemic effect of prickly cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) fruit juice in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Aust J Basic Appl Sci 5:356–377

  2. Abdel-Hameed ESS, Nagaty MA, Salman MS, Bazaid SA (2014) Phytochemicals, nutritionals and antioxidant properties of two prickly pear cactus cultivars (Opuntia ficus indica Mill.) growing in Taif, KSA. Food Chem 160:31–38

  3. Amin I, Tan SH (2002) Antioxidant activity of selected commercial seaweed. Malays J Nutr 8:167–177

  4. AOAC (1990) Methods of analysis, 15th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Washington

  5. AOAC (1995) Official methods of analysis, 16th edn. Association Official Analytical Chemists, Washington

  6. Aragona M, Lauriano ER, Pergolizzi S, Faggio C (2018) Opuntia ficus indica (L.) Miller as source of bioactivity compounds for health and nutrition. Nat Prod Res 32:2037–2049

  7. Belviranli B, Al-Juhaimi F, Özcan MM, Ghafoor K, Babiker EE, Alsawmahi ON (2019) Effect of location on some physico-chemical properties of prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica L.) fruit and seeds. J Food Process Pres 43:e13896

  8. Benzie IFF, Strain JJ (1996) The ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) as a measure of ‘“Antioxidant Power”’: the FRAP assay. Anal Biochem 239:70–76

  9. Camara MM, Diez C, Torija ME, Cano MP (1994) HPLC determination of organic acids in pineapple juices and nectars. Z Lebensm Untersuch Forsch 198:52–56

  10. Cavalcante ÍHL, Cavalcante LF, dos Santos GD, Beckmann-Cavalcante MZ, de Melo Silva S (2012) Impact of biofertilizers on mineral status and fruit quality of yellow passion fruit in Brazil. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 43:2027–2042

  11. Chahdoura H, Barreira JCM, Barros L, Santos-Buelga C, Ferreira ICFR, Achour L (2015) Seeds of Opuntia spp. as a novel high potential by-product: phytochemical characterization and antioxidant activity. Ind Crops Prod 65:383–389

  12. Chahdoura H, Barreira JC, Adouni K, Mhadhebi L, Calhelha RC, Snoussi M, Majdoub H, Flamini G, Ferreira ICFR (2017) Bioactivity and chemical characterization of Opuntia macrorhiza Engelm. seed oil: potential food and pharmaceutical applications. Food Funct 8:2739–2747

  13. Ciriminna R, Delisi R, Albanese L, Meneguzzo F, Pagliaro M (2017) Opuntia ficus-indica seed oil: biorefinery and bioeconomy aspects. Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 119:1700013

  14. IOC (International Olive Council) (2017) Determination of fatty acid methyl esters by gas chromatography. COI/T 20 / doc no 33 Rev 1

  15. IOC (International Olive Council) (2018) Determination of the sterol composition and content and aliphatic alcoholic compounds by capillary gas chromatography. COI/T20/ doc no 26 Rev 4

  16. El Kossori RL, Villaume C, El Boustani E, Sauvaire Y, Mejean L (1998) Composition of pulp, skin and seeds of prickly pears fruit (Opuntia ficus indica sp.). Plant Foods Hum Nutr 52:263–270

  17. El Kharrassi Y, Mazri MA, Benyahia H, Benaouda H, Mzouri EL, Nasser E (2016) Fruit and juice characteristics of two cactus pear species (Opuntia ficus indica and Opuntia megacantha) from different regions of Morocco. LWT Food Sci Technol 65:610–617

  18. El Kharrassi Y, Mazri MA, Sedra MH, Mabrouk A, Nasser B, El Mzouri E (2017) Characterization of genetic diversity of cactus species (Opuntia spp) in Morocco by morphological traits and molecular markers. Curr Agric Res J 5:146–159

  19. El Kharrassi Y, Maata N, Mazri MA, El Kamouni S, Talbi M, El Kebbaj R, Moustaid K, Essamadi A, Andreoletti P, Moustaid K, El Mzouri E, Cherkaoui-Malki M, Nasser B (2018) Chemical and phytochemical characterizations of argan oil (Argania spinosa L. skeels), olive oil (Olea europaea L. cv. Moroccan picholine), cactus pear (Opuntia megacantha salm-dyck) seed oil and cactus cladode essential oil. J Food Meas Charact 12:747–754

  20. El Mostafa K, El Kharrassi Y, Badreddine A, Andreoletti P, Vamecq J, El Kebbaj MS, Latruffe N, Lizard G, Nasser B, Cherkaoui-Malki M (2014) Nopal cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) as a source of bioactive compounds for nutrition, health and disease. Molecules 19:14879–14901

  21. Ghazi Z, Ramdani M, Fauconnier ML, El Mahi B, Cheikh R (2013) Fatty acids sterols and vitamin e composition of seed oil of Opuntia ficus indica and Opuntia dillenii from Morocco. J Mater Environ Sci 5:967–972

  22. Helsen P, Verdyck P, Tye A, Desender K, Van houtte N, Van dongen S (2007) Primer note: isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in Galapagos prickly pear (Opuntia) cactus species. Mol EcolNotes 7(3):454–456

  23. Hensley K, Benaksas EJ, Bolli R, Comp P, Grammas P, Hamdheydari L, Mou S, Pye QN, Stoddard MF, Wallis G, Williamson KS, West M, Wechter WJ, Floyd RA (2004) New perspectives on vitamin E: γ-tocopherol and carboxy ethyl hydroxy chroman metabolites in biology and medicine. Free Radic Biol Med 36:1–15

  24. ISO 9936 (2006) Animal fats and vegetable: determination of tocopherols and tocotrienols by liquid chromatography high-performance. ISO, Geneva, Switzerland

  25. Jones PJ, AbuMweis SS (2009) Phytosterols as functional food ingredients: linkages to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 12:147–151

  26. Kjeldahl J (1883) A new method for the estimation of nitrogen in organic compounds. Z Anal Chem 22:366–382

  27. Martins S, Mussatto SI, Martínez-Avila G, Montañez-Saenz J, Aguilar CN, Teixeira JA (2011) Bioactive phenolic compounds: production and extraction by solid-state fermentation. A review. Biotechnol Adv 29:365–373

  28. Mert M (2010) Effect of high hydrostatic pressure on microbial load and quality parameters of grape juice. Thesis Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

  29. Moussa-Ayoub TE, Jaeger H, Youssef K, Knorr D, El-Samahy S, Kroh LW, Rohn S (2016) Technological characteristics and selected bioactive compounds of Opuntia dillenii cactus fruit juice following the impact of pulsed electric field pretreatment. Food Chem 210:249–261

  30. Pereira C, Barros L, Carvalho AM, Ferreira ICFR (2011) Nutritional composition and bioactive properties of commonly consumed wild greens: potential sources for new trends in modern diets. Food Res Int 44:2634–2640

  31. Poudel A, Gachumi G, Wasan KM, Dallal Bashi Z, El-Aneed A, Badea I (2019) Development and Characterization of liposomal formulations containing phytosterols extracted from Canola oil deodorizer distillate along with Tocopherols as food additives. Pharmaceutics 11(4):185

  32. R’bia O, Chkioua C, Hellal R, Herchi W, Smiti SA (2017) Antioxidant and antibacterial activities of Opuntia ficus indica seed oil fractions and their bioactive compounds identification. Turk J Biochem 42:481–491

  33. Ramírez-Moreno E, Cariño-Cortés R, Cruz-Cansino NDS, Delgado-Olivares L, Ariza-Ortega JA, Montañez-Izquierdo VY, Hernandez-Herrero MM, Filardo-Kerstupp T (2017) Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of cactus pear (Opuntia) seed oils. J Food Qual 3075907:1–8

  34. Re R, Pellegrini N, Proteggente A, Pannala A, Yang M, Rice-Evans C (1999) Antioxidant activity applying an improved ABTS radical cation decolorization assay. Free Radic Biol Med 26:1231–1237

  35. Taoufik F, Zine S, El Hadek M, Idrissi Hassani LM, Gharby S, Harhar H, Matthäus B (2015) Oil content and main constituents of cactus seed oils Opuntia ficus indica of different origin in Morocco. Med J Nutr Metab 8:85–92

  36. Zuraini Z, Rais A, Yoga Lath L, Sasidharan S, Xavier R (2008) Antioxidant activity of Coleus Blumei, Orthosiphonstamineus, Ocimumbasilicum and Menthaarvensis from Lamiaceae family. Int J Nat Eng Sci 2:93–95



All the authors thank the purchasing and finance department of Mohammed VI Polytechnic University of Benguérir (UM6P) for their support to perform chemical analysis at the Official Laboratory for Analysis and Chemical Research (LOARC), Casablanca. The authors acknowledge Dr El Houssine El Mzouri, former Head of INRA of Settat for his assistance in the collection of the plant material. We also thank Mrs Nadia Maata Head of division Research and Development at the LOARC, and Mr Mohamed Amakhmakh technician in the Fat section for their assistance for HPLC/GC analyses and preparing the chromatograms. We also thank the Director of the Sabbar Rhamna cooperative for his help and support in the preparation and extraction of fruit juice and seed oil.

Author Information

El Kharrassi Youssef
African Sustainable Agriculture Research Institute (ASARI), Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), Laâyoune, Morocco