Seeds and cladodes (stems) of cultivated Opuntia species were analyzed for fatty acids using gas chromatography. The major fatty acids found in the cladode tissues were myristic (14:0), palmitic (16:0), stearic (18:0), arachidic (20:0), and behenic (22:0). The seeds contained predominantly palmitic, stearic, and behenic acids. Significant differences, both in content and composition of fatty acids, exist among the species so that fatty acid profiles may be useful as taxonomic markers for the differentiation of cultivated Opuntia species.
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