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Review

Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.: A Multi-Benefit Potential to Be Exploited

1
Departamento de Alimentação e Nutrição, Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge, I.P., Av. Padre Cruz, 1649-016 Lisboa, Portugal
2
REQUIMTE-LAQV/Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, n°. 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
3
Instituto Universitário Egas Moniz, Campus Universitário, Quinta da Granja, Monte de Caparica, 2829-511 Caparica, Portugal
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CiiEM—Centro de Investigação Interdisciplinar Egas Moniz, Campus Universitário, Quinta da Granja, Monte de Caparica, 2829-511 Caparica, Portugal
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GENA—Grupo de Estudos de Nutrição Aplicada, Campus Universitário, Quinta da Granja, Monte de Caparica, 2829-511 Caparica, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Ana Belén Martín Diana and M. Teresa Escribano-Bailón
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040951
Received: 11 December 2020 / Revised: 29 January 2021 / Accepted: 8 February 2021 / Published: 11 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Sustainability: Promising By-Products for Valorization)
Consumer interest in foods with enhanced nutritional quality has increased in recent years. The nutritional and bioactive characterization of fruits and their byproducts, as well as their use in the formulation of new food products, is advisable, contributing to decrease the global concerns related to food waste and food security. Moreover, the compounds present in these raw materials and the study of their biological properties can promote health and help to prevent some chronic diseases. Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (prickly pear) is a plant that grows wild in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world, being a food source for ones and a potential for others, but not properly valued. This paper carries out an exhaustive review of the scientific literature on the nutritional composition and bioactive compounds of prickly pear and its constituents, as well as its main biological activities and applications. It is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins and bioactive compounds. Many of its natural compounds have interesting biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic and antimicrobial. The antioxidant power of prickly pear makes it a good candidate as an ingredient of new food products with fascinating properties for health promotion and/or to be used as natural extracts for food, pharmaceutic or cosmetic applications. In addition, it could be a key player in food security in many arid and semi-arid regions of the world, where there are often no more plants. View Full-Text
Keywords: Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.; byproducts; nutritional composition; bioactive compounds; biological activities; food sustainability; food waste Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.; byproducts; nutritional composition; bioactive compounds; biological activities; food sustainability; food waste
MDPI and ACS Style

Silva, M.A.; Albuquerque, T.G.; Pereira, P.; Ramalho, R.; Vicente, F.; Oliveira, M.B.P.P.; Costa, H.S. Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.: A Multi-Benefit Potential to Be Exploited. Molecules 2021, 26, 951. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040951

AMA Style

Silva MA, Albuquerque TG, Pereira P, Ramalho R, Vicente F, Oliveira MBPP, Costa HS. Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.: A Multi-Benefit Potential to Be Exploited. Molecules. 2021; 26(4):951. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040951

Chicago/Turabian Style

Silva, Mafalda A., Tânia G. Albuquerque, Paula Pereira, Renata Ramalho, Filipa Vicente, Maria B.P.P. Oliveira, and Helena S. Costa. 2021. "Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.: A Multi-Benefit Potential to Be Exploited" Molecules 26, no. 4: 951. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040951

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