Emergent technologies for the extraction of antioxidants from prickly pear peel and their antimicrobial activity

Elisabete M. C. Alexandre*, Marta C. Coelho, Kardelen Ozcan, Carlos A. Pinto, José A. Teixeira, Jorge A. Saraiva, Manuela Pintado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Phenolic compounds are important bioactive compounds identified in prickly pear peel that have important antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. However, conventional thermal extraction methods may reduce their bioactivity, and technologies such as high pressure (HP) and ohmic heating (OH) may help preserve them. In this study, both technologies were analyzed, individually and combined (250/500 MPa; 40/70◦C; ethanol concentration 30/70%), and compared with Soxhlet with regard to total phenolics, flavonoids, and carotenoids as well as antioxidant (ABTS, DPPH, ORAC), DNA pro-oxidant, and antimicrobial (inhibition halos, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC), growth curves, and viable cells) activities of prickly pear peel extracts. Total phenolics extracted by each technology increased 103% (OH) and 98% (HP) with regard to Soxhlet, but the contents of total flavonoids and carotenoids were similar. Antioxidant activity increased with HP and OH (between 35% and 63%), and OH (70◦C) did not induce DNA degradation. The phenolic compound present in higher amounts was piscidic acid, followed by eucomic acid and citrate. In general, their extraction was significantly favored by HP and OH. Antimicrobial activity against 7 types of bacteria showed effective results only against S. aureus, S. enteritidis, and B. cereus. No synergetic or additive effect was observed for HP/OH.
Original languageEnglish
Article number570
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Ohmic heating and high-pressure extraction
  • Phenolics
  • Prickly pear peel


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