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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 728: V International Congress on Cactus Pear and Cochineal

OPUNTIA SPP. BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS IN FOODS: A PLUS FOR HEALTH

Author:   C. Saenz
Keywords:   cactus pear, functional components, healthy foods, phytochemicals
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2006.728.33
Abstract:
This paper reviews the technological characteristics of cactus pear pulp as a raw material for processed foods as well as the functional components of fruit and cladodes: nutrients, antioxidants, dietary fiber and natural colorants. Purple fruits are a source of betalains, a potential antioxidant, as well as a natural colorant similar to the pigment obtained from red beet, which is widely used by the food industry. The cladodes dehydrated and ground into powder are source of dietary fiber, which may be used as natural ingredient in different foods to enhance their beneficial properties. Cactus mucilage can be used as natural thickener. All these components could be used as natural ingredients in foods to enhance their healthy properties. The new functions of some compounds open new possibilities for adding value to the cactus pear, a new crop for semiarid regions of the world.

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