Biothiols, taurine, and flavonols, as well as tocopherols and carotenoids have been assessed in the edible pulp of Sicilian red (Sanguigna), yellow (Surfarina), and white (Muscaredda) cultivars of cactus pear. The yellow cultivar has the highest level of reduced glutathione (GSH, 8.1 +/- 0.78 mg/100 g pulp), whereas the white cultivar showed the highest amount of cysteine (1.21 +/- 0.12 mg/100 g pulp). Taurine accounted for 11.7 +/- 1.0 mg/100 g in the yellow pulp, while lower levels were measured in the others. With the exception of kaempferol in the yellow cultivar (2.7 +/- 0.2 microg/100 g pulp), the edible pulp of cactus pear was not a source of flavonols. Very low amounts of lipid-soluble antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids were measured in all cultivars. As a consequence of industrial processing, a total loss of GSH and beta-carotene and a net decrease of vitamin C and cysteine were revealed in the fruit juice, whereas betalains, taurine, and vitamin E appeared to be less susceptible to degradation.