Flavonoid content and antioxidant activity in peel and pulp samples of four different cactus pear fruit varieties were investigated. Major cactus fruit flavonoids were quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin. Greater amount of quercetin was found in the pulp compared with the peel samples in all varieties examined. Both kaempferol and isorhamnetin were found in at least three of the varieties (Opuntia ficus-indica; O. lindheimeri; O. streptacantha) exclusively in the peel samples. Generally, pulp tissue samples of all the cactus fruit varieties contained greater ascorbic acid, glutathione, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene and antioxidant activities than the peel tissue samples. Total flavonoids correlated well with antioxidant activity (r2 = 0.89). Ascorbic acid had the highest antioxidant activity, followed by glutathione, beta-carotene, and alpha-tocopherol on equimolar basis.
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