Phenolic Composition, Antioxidant Capacity and In Vitro Cancer Cell Cytotoxicity of Nine Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) Juices

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Juices of nine prickly pears (Opuntia spp.) were characterized in terms of color, acidity, sugar content, phenolics, flavonoids, betalains and antioxidant activity and tested in vitro against four cancer cell lines. The juices had pH's, acidities and sugar ranging from 4.27 to 5.46, 0.03 to 0.27% and 8 to 14.7°Brix, respectively. Juices also varied in color from white to purple and contained total phenolics, flavonoids, betaxanthins, betacyanins and antioxidant capacity ranging from 22 to 226μg gallic acid eq/g, 95 to 374μg quercetin eq/g, 3 to 189μg/g, 1.6 to 300μg/g and 17 to 25 micromoles Trolox eq./mL, respectively. Among the cancer lines tested, viability of prostate and colon cells were the most affected. Moradillo contained the highest flavonoids and diminished both prostate and colon cancer cell viability without affecting mammary or hepatic cancer cells. Rastrero reduced the growth of the four cancer cell lines without affecting normal fibroblast viability. The research shows intervarietal differences among prickly pears in terms of juice properties and phytochemicals that could prevent oxidative stress and cancer.

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