Quantitative and qualitative analysis of cladodes from new selections of Opuntia ficus-indica

M. Mulas, L. Dessena
The objective of this research was to analyse cladode chemical-physical characteristics of six accessions from Sardinian germplasm and 12 new hybrids (Hy). Cladode length, width, thickness, fresh weight, dry weight, dry-matter concentration, and ashes were determined, as well as the concentration of macro- and micro-elements (P, N, Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn), and the fibre concentration of the cladodes expressed as acid detergent fibre (ADF), neutral detergent fibre (NDF), and acid detergent lignin (ADL). Data analysis showed significant differences in physical and chemical characteristics of the cladodes from the 18 selections. Cladode fresh weight ranged from 724.0 g (‘Hy-92sm1’) to 1626.6 g (‘Hy-92sm4’). Dry-matter concentration ranged from 4.17% (‘Sanguigna’) to 5.91% (‘Hy-93sm3’), while ash concentration (dry-matter basis) ranged from 17.19% (‘Hy-92sm2’) to 27.73% (‘2/30’). Phosphorus concentration ranged from 0.11% (‘Hy-92sm1’) to 0.31% (‘Hy-C15-2’), potassium from 1.67% (‘Sanguigna’, ‘Hy-C15-6’) to 3.57% (‘Hy-92sm2’), and sodium from 0.06% (‘Hy-C15-6’) to 0.11% (‘Sanguigna’, ‘Gialla’, ‘Hy-C15-1’). The selection ‘Hy-C15-1’ had the lowest concentrations of Mg, Cu and Zn, with values of 0.55%, 4.33 ppm and 19.50 ppm, respectively. Cladode NDF ranged from 18.3% (‘Hy-C15-4’) to 27.6% (‘Hy-92sm4’), ADF from 12.6% (‘Hy-C15-6’) to 20.8% (‘Hy-92sm4’) and ADL from 3.45% (‘Hy-93s146’) to 7.57% (‘Sanguigna’). Our results showed the great variability of chemical composition of cladodes, as a valuable character both for the choice of genotypes suitable for animal feeding and for breeding programs.
Mulas, M. and Dessena, L. (2019). Quantitative and qualitative analysis of cladodes from new selections of Opuntia ficus-indica. Acta Hortic. 1247, 155-162
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1247.22
cactus pear, cladode, mineral composition, fibre concentration, cultivar selection

Acta Horticulturae