Nutritive evaluation of a non-conventional leafy vegetable (Pereskia aculeata Miller)

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 1:148-60. doi: 10.1080/09637480802534509. Epub 2009 May 22.


Pereskia aculeata Miller is a native cactus that can be found in Brazil and is called 'ora-pro-nobis' (OPN). Many people from poor communities consume the dark green leaves of OPN as a vegetable. The objective of the present work was to evaluate the nutritional components in terms of proximate composition, minerals, vitamins, protein content and their in vitro protein digestibility. OPN leaves showed remarkable levels of total dietary fiber (39.1% dry basis), minerals (calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc) and vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid). Among amino acids, tryptophan was the most abundant (20.5% of the total amino acids) and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed small peptides, inferior to 6.5 kDa, and four major bands (61 kDa, 53 kDa, 33 kDa, and 15 kDa). The protein digestibility corrected amino acid score showed the lowest value of sulfur-amino acids (Met+Cys). OPN leaves could be considered a good source of minerals, vitamins and amino acids, and may serve as a potential functional ingredient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Brazil
  • Cactaceae / chemistry*
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis*
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis*
  • Micronutrients / analysis*
  • Minerals / analysis*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nutritive Value
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Vegetables / chemistry


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients
  • Minerals
  • Peptides