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Abstract

In the world, Mexico is the major producer of prickly pears and also has the largest number in varieties. However, in addition to its highly seasonal production, prickly pears are consumed just by a small segment of the Mexican population. Therefore, the promotion of prickly pears consumption in the form of new derivative products by emphasizing its bioactive properties seems to be a possible solution to its low consumption. Recent studies from European and Asian laboratories showed that some prickly pears varieties have a significant antioxidant activity. In Mexico, prickly pears producers are looking for new ways of commercialization. In this regard, similar studies are underway surveying those varieties from the highly producing Mexican states with the goal to develop new functional products with high added value. In addition, the use of prickly pears as a raw material for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries is being considered and seems to be highly promising.

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