Universidad y ciencia
Print version ISSN 0186-2979
PRIETO-GARCIA, F et al. Morphology, size and particle distribution in seeds of five species of the genus Opuntia. Universidad y ciencia [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.2, pp. 159-162. ISSN 0186-2979.
The seeds of the genus Opuntia at present constitute a waste. Finding a basic component that will allow their use as a nutritious complement in the preparation of another product is of socioeconomic interest. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the morphology and to determine the size and particle distribution of the seeds of the following species: Opuntia heliabravoana Scheinvar, O. imbricata Haw, O. matudae Scheinvar, O. joconostle Haage and O. ficus indica Miller. The seeds were ground and the particles were extracted by suspension in cold water. The morphology was evaluated through observations in the electronic microscope (SEM). The size and distribution were determined in a particle size analyser through laser beam diffraction. Particle size varied between 23.81 and 55.13 μm.The variation and distribution of sizes varied from 0.044 μm to 1 143 μm. The average size of the particles of the five species was 37.97 μm, similar to the average sizes measured in the SEM. The predominant grains were semi-spherical in form and corresponded to starch grains. The estimation of the average size of the particles and of the morphology is important in order to be able to associate the results obtained in previous histochemical evaluations with the starches they contain.
Keywords : Opuntia; seed; starches; size.