agroindustry, technological processes, chemical compounds, physical attributes, seeds from cactus prickly pear
Objective: To verify the physical attributes and assess the chemical quality from prickly pear’s seeds (Opuntia albicarpa Seheinvar cv. Villanueva), including seeds´ size, internal friction, external friction, performance for size reduction, sieving and electric conductivity, soluble protein, total protein, phosphorous, carbohydrates, amount of oil and minerals.
Design/methodology/approach: To verify and compare the physical attributes and chemical parameters using proved and reliable techniques, to explore their impacts on its future potential, when seeds are intended to agro-industrial processes, considering; its size and quality of space storage and their effect when interacting with handling apparatus and the material they are manufactured with.
Results: Selected groups of 100 seeds from four consecutive prickly pears harvests had no differences. While for their chemical analysis, seeds were milled and their revised chemical compounds showed differences between harvest, therefore, drought, management and crop protection significantly affect those attributes. The factors were not included in this study.
Limitations on study/implications: Prickly pears are harvested for 4 months per year. This reduces the availability of raw material from other varieties and from other regions, to expand this study and to compare between diverse parameters.
Findings/conclusions: There were not significant differences in seed size (wide, large, thickness), external friction and electric conductivity; therefore, handling equipment does not need specifications. While, for the internal friction and all chemical compounds analyzed from seeds´ flour, significate differences were quantified. The latter means that, it is adequate to homogenize these parameters by using other compounds in the agrifood processes.