Characterization of atomized extract of Opuntia ficusindica (L.) Mill. and assessment of its pharmaceutical potential

  • Cinthya Maria Pereira Souza
  • Fernanda Silva Almeida
  • Valdir Florêncio Veiga Junior
  • Bolívar Ponciano Goulart de Lima Damasceno
  • Ana Cláudia Dantas Medeiros
  • Davi Pereira Santana
  • José Alexsandro Silva
Keywords: Phytochemical characterization. Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. Antimicrobial activity. Antioxidant activity. Inhibition of tyrosinase.


Given the many traditional uses of Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. and the widespread employment of dry extracts in herbal medicine and phytocosmetics, the aim of this study is to characterize an atomized extract of O. ficus-indica cladodes, as well as to analyze its phytochemical composition and assay the total phenol content. In addition, the antioxidant, antimicrobial and photoprotective activities of the extract and its capacity to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase were assessed, with a view to its pharmaceutical use. The physicochemical characterization was performed by pharmacopoeial tests, thermal analysis and infrared spectroscopy. Phytochemicals were analyzed by thin layer chromatography and total phenols by spectroscopy in the visible region. Antioxidant activity was detected by the method of free radical (DPPH●) scavenging and antimicrobial activity by the agar diffusion method, while inhibition of tyrosinase was estimated by the diphenolase activity assay and photoprotective activity by a spectrophotometric method. The pharmacopeial tests, IR spectroscopy and thermal analysis enabled the atomized extract to be characterized. Concerning the potential for pharmaceutical use, it was found that, under the study conditions, the extract did not show any antioxidant, antimicrobial or photoprotective activity. However, it did show a modest tyrosinase inhibitory capacity. The originality of the proposed research on O. ficus-indica in the pharmaceutical field should be emphasized, as it opens new prospects for the study of a species that is so abundant and adapted to Brazilian semi-arid regions.

Research Article