BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY EVOLUTION DURING THE RIPENING PROCESS OF 12 OPUNTIA SPP. FRUIT ACCESSIONS
Opuntia spp. is easily adaptable to arid and semiarid climates, and represents a valuable alternative for the agricultural development in dry regions. Twelve accessions of Opuntia spp. fruits were characterized to know the evolution of their bioactive compounds concentration such as phenolics, flavonoids and pigments (Isobetanins, betanins, indicaxanthins and total betalains) during their ripening process. DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging capacity were determined and correlated with pigments and bioactive compounds concentration. Bioactive compounds and pigments concentration increased along ripening. Higher concentration of total betalains were found in ripe ꞌBondaꞌ (O. guerrana Griffiths) and ꞌRojo Tolucaꞌ (Opuntia robusta var. Larreyi) accessions, being of 78.96 ± 0.54 mg 100 g-1 DW and 69.87 ± 0.29 mg 100 g-1 DW respectively. Findings in this work can help to select Opuntia spp. accessions with high potential to be established as a valuable crop in the arid zones of Mexico.