Background: The prickly pear cactus or Nopal is a plant that is well adapted to arid and
semi-arid climates like that of Algeria. It produces sweet nutritionally rich edible fruits, and it has
been used in traditional folk medicine.
Objective: This study aimed to chemically characterize the cactus seed extracts by using different solvents,
to optimize extraction parameters of bioactive compounds, and to evaluate in vitro their antioxidant
activities by ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl
Methods: Two extraction methods were used (soxhlet, maceration); the active antioxidant, phenolic
and flavonoids contents were determined using colorimetric method.
Results: The best extraction yields are recorded in the polar extracts with 31.5% as the highest percentage
represented by the hydro-ethanolic extract. The same extract contains high rate of phenolic
compound with 144.5 gallic acid mg/100 g DM followed by the aqueous extract 114.87 mg GAE/100
g. The radical scavenging activity, expressed as a function of IC50, equals 0.13, and 0.15 for hydroethanolic
and aqueous extracts, respectively.
Conclusion: Cactus seeds could be a potential source of natural compounds and therapeutic agents
which are useful in the prevention or treatment of diseases associated with oxidative stress.