GERMPLASM DIVERSITY OF XOCONOSTLES (OPUNTIA SPP.) OR ACIDIC CACTUS PEARS FROM CENTRAL MEXICO
Xoconostles or acidic cactus pears (Opuntia spp.) are fruits prized for their fleshy, acidic mesocarp. They are morphologically different from their botanical related species of cactus pears which bear sweet, juicy and seedy fruits. Both tolerate poor soils and scanty rainfall typical of the semi-arid highlands of Central Mexico. Wild xoconostles are ubiquitous in Mexican semi-arid regions, and domesticated genotypes are found in backyards and commercial orchards. Folk wisdom attributes xoconostle antihypoglucemic effects, cholesterol control and obesity reduction. The peel is rich in fiber, minerals, soluble phenols and betalains, it presents higher antioxidant capacity than strawberry, raspberry, red plum, grapefruit, pear and apple. Twenty-one accessions from Villa de Tezontepec, Hidalgo, and Saín Alto, Zacatecas, Mexico were studied using 27 variables, by means of cluster analysis and discriminant canonical analysis. Fourteen variables were significant to discriminate accessions; cladode length, number of rows of areoles, number of areoles in central row, pericarpel length and width, fruit length, diameter, length/diameter ratio, areoles density, receptacle depth, weight, peel weight and pulp acidity. Two canonical roots explained 87.55% of the variability. Clusters did not match the actual taxonomical classification. The study showed that besides pulp acidity, traits related to plant productivity and fruit quality were of primary interest for human selection.
Gallegos-Vázquez, C., Mondragón-Jacobo, C., Núñez-Colín, C.A. and Scheinvar, L. (2013). GERMPLASM DIVERSITY OF XOCONOSTLES (OPUNTIA SPP.) OR ACIDIC CACTUS PEARS FROM CENTRAL MEXICO. Acta Hortic. 995, 75-81
cacti variability, edible cacti, germplasm utilization, underutilized crops