Reports shows the consumption of plant-derived foods such as fruits and vegetables reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes due in part to the action of phytonutrients that are capable of neutralizing free radicals and reducing oxidative damage. The objective of this study was to analyze the phytonutrients and other compositional attributes of both fresh and cooked Prickly Pear cactus (Opuntia englemanniis), a Native American edible plant from Southern California. Prickly Pear cactus is a desert plant that has a long history with the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians and is used for a variety of purposes. Post-harvest handling included sorting for uniformity and quality, and removal of field heat. Samples were prepared and analyzed for moisture, pH, %Brix, total carotene, total phenolics and flavonoids. The results for the fresh vs. cooked samples were higher for moisture (89.0% vs. 87.0), total carotene (3.4 mg/g DW vs. 3.0 mg/g DW) and total phenolics (7.3 mg GAE/g DW vs 4.4 mg GAE/g DW). The HPLC chromatograms of both sample types at 330 nm showed similar decrease of phenolics in the cooked fruit. The pH and %Brix were slightly higher in the cooked samples. Overall results showed the cooking method in our study resulted in reducing antioxidant components in the fruit. This study provides helpful information that could be considered for function food and beverage development with novel ingredients for foodservice organizations.
Citation: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Food Chemistry & Technology. J Food Chem Nanotechnol 2(Suppl 2): S1-S45.