Prickly pear seed extracts with antioxidant and cancer-preventing capacity Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent studies have suggested the presence of healthpromoting compounds in prickly pear (Opuntia spp) with antioxidant, antiulcerogenic and anticancer properties. The objective of this present study was to assess the antioxidant and anticancer potential of Opuntia seeds extracts (OSE) obtained from nine underinvestigated cultivars of prickly pear. OSE yielded total phenolic values from 7371,676.8 g gallic acid equivalents/g of dried seed. Opuntia rastrera, one of the varieties, showed the highest concentration of phenolic compounds. The antioxidant capacity was assessed by the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay. ORAC values ranged from 17.741.25 moles Trolox equivalents/g. Polyphenolic content and antioxidant capacity of prickly pear seeds are comparable to other antioxidants fruits such as elderberry and black currant. OSE did not present toxicity on breast, prostate and colon cancer cells in a concentration range of 0.20.16 g/mL assessed by the MTT assay, other than for MOLT4 leukemia cells where growth was reduced with an IC50 value of 5 mg/mL by the O. rastrera extract. In addition, O. rastrera induced the phase II enzyme quinone reductase (QR), doubling QR activity at 0.08 g/mL. These findings suggest potential cancerpreventing effects by inducing xenobiotic metabolism. Among the cultivars tested O. rastrera exhibited the highest potential in the prevention of carcinogenesis.Grant Funding Source: ASN

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Raul Camarena-Ordonez, D., Gutierrez-Uribe, J., Hernandez-Brenes, C., & Mertens-Talcott, S.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Camarena‐Ordonez, Daniel Raul||Gutierrez‐Uribe, Janet||Hernandez‐Brenes, Carmen||Mertens‐Talcott, Susanne

publication date

  • April 2010