Chemical and nutritional content of Opuntia ficus-indica (L.)
AbstractOpuntia ficus-indica (L.) fruit pulp was analyzed for its chemical and nutritional content and the results compared with those of the same species from other parts of the world. The analysis included those for: Moisture and ash contents, crude fibre, energy values, non-reducing sugars, crude protein and vitamin C. Total carbohydrates were obtained by calculation. Results show no major variation in moisture content, amount of ash except in the Kenyan sample (A), which had a high value of 4.03 ± 0.52)%. Vitamin C varied from the three reported sources whereas crude fat was the same in all except 0.40% in sample A. Crude fiber varied and calorific value only reported in A was 3.77 kcal/g. Carbohydrates varied widely between 12 to 92%. All analyzed minerals varied, but Pb and Cd were absent. From this study, it is evident that the nutritional composition of Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) varies in regards to age and season. However, irrespective of the origin or variety, these fruits are a good natural reservoir of energy whose nutritive components and antioxidants such as vitamin C, can be used as a food supplement.
Keywords: Kenya, nutritional composition, Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) fruits.
African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 12(21), pp. 3309-3312