Effect of phenolic compounds and betalain pigments on the antioxidant capacity of Moroccan prickly pear juices

Juices of nine prickly pears cultivars (Opuntia ficus-indica L.) were characterized in terms of phenolics and betalains pigment content. The antioxidant activity of juice was tested by means of two different methods : the 2,2-diphenyl-1 picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) methods, and the 2,2- azinobis(3-ethyl-benzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) methods. Juices contained total phenolics ranging from 354.37 to 643.66 μg gallic acid eq/g, betaxanthins (15.84 to 51.33 mg indicaxanthin/l), betacyanins (52.04 mg betanin/l for red juice) and antioxidant capacity (DPPH) ranging from 52.48 to 135.96μg/ml respectively. The total phenolic contents were highly correlated with ABTS (R2 = 0.868) and DPPH (R2 = 0.959) values. The phenolics compounds contribute more significantly to the total antioxidant capacity than betalain pigments.Therefore, the total phenolic contents can serve as a useful indicator for the antioxidant activities of prickly pear juices.

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