Date palm is an important crop, especially in the hot-arid regions of the world. Date palm fruits have high nutritional and therapeutic value and possess significant antibacterial and antifungal properties. In this study, we performed bioactivity analyses and metabolic profiling of date fruits of 12 cultivars from Saudi Arabia to assess their nutritional value. Our results showed that the date extracts from different cultivars have different free radical scavenging and anti-lipid peroxidation activities. Moreover, the cultivars showed significant differences in their chemical composition, e.g., the phenolic content (10.4-22.1 mg/100 g DW), amino acids (37-108 μmol·g-1 FW) and minerals (237-969 mg/100 g DW). Principal component analysis (PCA) showed a clear separation of the cultivars into four different groups. The first group consisted of the Sokary, Nabtit Ali cultivars, the second group of Khlas Al Kharj, Khla Al Qassim, Mabroom, Khlas Al Ahsa, the third group of Khals Elshiokh, Nabot Saif, Khodry, and the fourth group consisted of Ajwa Al Madinah, Saffawy, Rashodia, cultivars. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) revealed clustering of date cultivars into two groups. The first cluster consisted of the Sokary, Rashodia and Nabtit Ali cultivars, and the second cluster contained all the other tested cultivars. These results indicate that date fruits have high nutritive value, and different cultivars have different chemical composition.
Keywords: amino acids; antimicrobial; antioxidants; date palm; lipid peroxidation; metabolomics; minerals; organic acids; phenolics.