• Cristian Jiménez Martínez Instituto Politécnico Nacional
  • Alamilla-Beltrán Liliana
  • Maciel-Cerda Alfredo
  • Dávila-Ortiz Gloria
Keywords: Opuntia, polisaccharides, mucilage, functional properties, films


The nopal is native to Mexico and Latin America. In Mexico, it is very much appreciated for its properties and it was believed that gods had sent it to protect and feed the folk. Nopal is being industrialized in diverse forms, for example products from the technified food industry and medicinal products. The epidermis of the nopal contains two layers, one of external green cells called collenchyma, and the second, an internal one, shaped by cylinders of white cells called parenchyma. Large amounts of water and mucillageous cells store the mucilage in these tissues. Physiologically, mucilage is defined as a non-digestible polysaccharide but soluble in water, it plays an important role in the regulation of the plant’s water content, tolerance to very cold temperatures, calcium metabolism, and storage of carbohydrates. The present review is aimed at presenting a general analysis of the mucilage from the nopal (Opuntia spp.), on how to obtain it and its characterization, improvement of the different extraction processes, and the studies reported until now. Another considered aspect is its use as matrix for the elaboration of diverse edible films and coatings. Up to now, several materials have been studied to improve some of the mechanical and bio functional properties of the mucilage, such as elongation, adhesiveness, and anti-microbial capacity, as well as diverse application techniques and the technologies for the application.

Author Biography

Cristian Jiménez Martínez, Instituto Politécnico Nacional
Doctorado en Ciencias en alimentos Ingenieria Bioquímica Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas Instituto Politécnico Nacional