The arid areas of Mexico, covering 65% of the national territory, contain an enormous biological and cultural wealth, half of the plants are only native to Mexico and there is ancient medicinal knowledge on many of them. That is why scientists at the Consortium of Research, Innovation and Development for Arid Zones (CIIDZA) study the scientific applications that certain fruits of the deserts may have.

Daniela Joyce Trujillo, CONACYT researcher attached to the Consortium, indicates that cacti fruits have great potential for sustainable development in the country. She is specifically studying the properties of pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) and garambullo (Myrtillocactus geometrizans), which are rich in fibers, proteins, ascorbic acid, betalains and bioactives.

It has been described that there are 24 cacti with edible fruits, the most commercialized nationally and worldwide is the prickly pear that has a high nutritional level. However, there are other fruits of cultural and socioeconomic importance with applications in health, food and cosmetics; which we are studying,” adds Joyce Trujillo.

Joyce Trujillo, doctor in Biological Sciences, studies compounds of these fruits to find health applications and combat diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, protection against kidney and brain damage.

In the Consortium of Research, Innovation and Development for Arid Zones, we are experimenting in pitaya and garambullo because we have identified that they can prevent or reduce kidney damage, which is a side effect caused by the administration of cisplatin, a cancer drug,” says the CIIDZA Researcher.

Joyce Trujillo explains that so far, the research has shown that the consumption of a pitaya extract prevents kidney damage, increasing the quality of life of cancer patients receiving cisplatin as a treatment for their disease. With her group of researchers, Joyce Trujillo continues to evaluate this effect to determine which compounds are responsible for this effect.

 

Source: Ciencia MX