Hedi Ben Mansour1
1 Research Unit: Analysis and Process Applied to the Environment (APAE), Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology Mahdia - University of Monastir, Tunisia.
2 Water Research and Technology Center (C.E.R.T. E), Borj-Cédria Technology Park, Soliman, Tunisia.
Abstract : Cactus fruit (Opuntia ficus-indica L.) are known for their virtues, mainly their chemo-preventive properties used in traditional medicines and their various therapeutic benefits including hypoglycaemic, hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant effects. This study aimed at first to add spices and natural aromatic plants to the common manufacturing process of cactus fruit (Opuntia ficus-indica L.) vinegar, and secondly to compare afterward the finished product from a nutritional point of view with other kinds of vinegar. The resulting vinegar has undergone a series of physicochemical, nutritional, and microbiological analyses to show its good quality and safety for human consumption. The microbiological analysis showed that the rates of yeast, moulds, and the total cultivable bacteria were below the maximum threshold of acceptability recommended by the Tunisian standards. Besides, cactus fruit vinegar has revealed various interesting activities such as antioxidant, antibacterial, and antidiabetic effects. Furthermore, the cactus fruit vinegar flavouring showed good stabilizing effects of its main physicochemical parameters and thus improved its nutritional quality and biological activity. The present study indicates that vinegar of cactus fruit (Opuntia ficus-indica L.) with or without flavouring are a significant source of compounds with interesting biological activities and best sensorial quality, and thus may be useful for chemoprevention via nutraceutical foods.
Key words: Cactus fruit (Opuntia ficus-indica L.) vinegar; Vinegar; Flavouring process; Nutritional quality; Biological activity