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Title: Nutritional variability in 42 cultivars of spineless cactus pear cladodes for crop improvement
Authors: Mabotja, M. B. 
Gerrano, A. S. 
Venter, S. L. 
du Plooy, C. P. 
Kudanga, T.
Amoo, S. O. 
Keywords: Cactus pear;b-carotene;Cladodes;Mineral elements;Nutritional value;Vitamin C
Issue Date: Nov-2021
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Source: Mabotja, M.B., Gerrano, A.S., Venter, S.L., du Plooy, C.P., Kudanga, T., Amoo, S.O. 2021. Nutritional variability in 42 cultivars of spineless cactus pear cladodes for crop improvement. South African Journal of Botany. 142: 140-148. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2021.06.022
Journal: South African Journal of Botany; Vol. 142 
In addition to their use in traditional medicine, cactus pear (Opuntia species) are a source of vegetal nutrients
in many countries. The aims of this study were to determine variability in the nutritional value of 42 spineless cactus pear cultivars, identify correlations between nutritional traits, and determine superior cultivars
based on cladode nutritional value. Cladodes of 42 spineless cactus pear cultivars grown under the same
glasshouse conditions were collected from the Roodeplaat research farm of the Agricultural Research Council,
South Africa. The sliced, dried and powdered cladodes were subjected to quantitative analysis of their vitamin C, b-carotene and mineral element contents. Significant variations in nutritional values were observed
among the different cultivars. Vitamin C content ranged from 8.95 mg/100 g in cultivar Ofer to 124 mg/100 g
in cultivar Malta, whilst b-carotene content ranged from 3.9 mg/100 g in cultivar Murado to 31.4 mg/100 g
in cultivar Cross X. Potassium and calcium were the most abundant mineral elements present, whilst iron
was found to be the least present among the mineral elements quantified. A significant positive association
was established between calcium (Ca), potassium (K) and zinc (Zn) contents. A direct selection for increased
concentration of Ca could be a selection criterion for the development of population with an indirect
improvement of K and Zn concentrations. The observed variations highlight the need for a careful cultivar
selection for population and product development using spineless cactus pear cladodes
ISSN: 0254-6299
DOI: 10.1016/j.sajb.2021.06.022
Appears in Collections:Research Publications (Applied Sciences)

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