Physical characteristics, phytochemical content and antioxidant activity of cactus pear fruits growing in northeast Algeria
Keywords:Opuntia ficus indica, betalains, carotenoids, flavonols, polyphenols.
The present work aims to evaluate the effect of locality on the quality of available orangefleshed
cactus pear cultivar in Souk-Ahras (Algeria). Samples collected from the study
area were assessed for their physical characteristics, chemical composition and
antioxidant properties. The cactus pear fruits originating from Remila site exhibited
significantly higher fruit and seed weights. The juicy pulps were sweet (14.00~15.85°Bx)
and showed high moisture content (85.04~86.80%), low acidity (0.038~0.049%) and a
near neutral pH (5.91~6.25). Phytochemical content analysis revealed significant higher
levels of polyphenols, flavonoids and total carotenoids in pulp juice from Meridef and
Chegaga sites, while pulp juice from Remila site had significant higher levels of vitamin C,
flavonols and betalains contents. Results of principal component analysis suggest that
vitamin C, betalains and flavonols content contributed efficiently to the radical scavenging
activity, whereas polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids were rather associated with the
reducing power activity.