Utilization of By-Products from Fruits and Vegetables

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 October 2024 | Viewed by 542

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, the use of natural products has been increasingly promising and interesting since they have proven their ability to possess numerous beneficial properties for human health. A balanced diet model, rich in fruits and vegetables and ensuring the intake of natural products, has been shown to reduce or prevent the occurrence of many chronic diseases; however, choosing to consume large quantities of fruit and vegetables has led to an increase in the quantities of waste products. This could create some difficulties:

1) there may be an alteration in environmental sustainability;
2) Disposal costs could increase enormously;
3) Incorrect disposal would increase environmental pollution.

In this sense, the utilization of by-products from fruits and vegetables could be used as adjuvants, mixed with other compounds for human health or animal feed.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to collect papers investigating not only the use of fruits and vegetables, but also their by-products. We seek thusly to lend greater importance to natural foods by increasing their value and sustainability and reducing the pollution they produce.

Dr. Jessica Maiuolo
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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16 pages, 3102 KiB  
Article
Cladodes of Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. Possess Important Beneficial Properties Dependent on Their Different Stages of Maturity
by Jessica Maiuolo, Saverio Nucera, Maria Serra, Rosamaria Caminiti, Francesca Oppedisano, Roberta Macrì, Federica Scarano, Salvatore Ragusa, Carolina Muscoli, Ernesto Palma and Vincenzo Mollace
Plants 2024, 13(10), 1365; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13101365 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. belongs to the Cactaceae family and the genus Opuntia; it is a succulent plant that adapts to extreme climatic conditions. The aerial part of the plant consists of the cladodes, morphological changes of branches that appear green, are covered [...] Read more.
Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. belongs to the Cactaceae family and the genus Opuntia; it is a succulent plant that adapts to extreme climatic conditions. The aerial part of the plant consists of the cladodes, morphological changes of branches that appear green, are covered with thorns, and are essential to reduce excessive perspiration of water. The composition of cladodes is very varied, and the main constituents are water, fibers, polysaccharides, proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, sterols, minerals, and polyphenols. Polyphenols are responsible for many beneficial activities for human health, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and nutritional properties. The purpose of this manuscript was to compare the properties of cladodes belonging to the same plant but with different stages of maturity. Relative extracts were tested both in vitro and on a cell line and antioxidant and anti-apoptotic properties were found. The antioxidant activity was tested by the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test, the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazil (DPPH) test, and the measurement of cellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Anti-apoptotic activity was evaluated by the annexin/PI assay and measurement of caspases 9 and 3 expression. The results obtained showed that the extracts considered possess antioxidant and anti-apoptotic properties. However, the different stages of maturity of cladodes are essential for the performance of both functions. In addition, important variations were made in the dissolution of the extracts that brought greater safety in their use. In conclusion, this manuscript provides further information on cladodes of Opuntia ficus-indica, which can be used as adjuvants in many human pathologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Utilization of By-Products from Fruits and Vegetables)
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