Pitaya peel has the potential as a treatment for anxiety disorders. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Metabolic profile of pitaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus (F.A.C. Weber) Britton&Rose) by UPLC-QTOF-MSand assessment of its toxicity and anxiolytic-like effect in adult zebrafish.
Food Res Int. 2020 Jan ;127:108701. Epub 2019 Oct 31. PMID: 31882110
Sandra Machado Lira
Pitaya is a Cactacea with potential for economic exploitation, due to its high commercial value and its functional components - such betalains, oligosaccharides and phenolic compounds. Although the biological activities of pitaya have been studied using in vivo and in vitro models (anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative activities, as example), its anxiolytic-like effect is still unexplored. Therefore, the aim of this work was to perform a characterization of pulp and peel of pitaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus (F.A.C. Weber) Britton&Rose) using UPLC-QTOF-MS, and to assess its toxicity and anxiolytic-like effect in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). The results showed 16 and 15 compounds (in pulp and peel, respectively), including maltotriose, quercetin-3-O-hexoside, and betalains, putatively identified by UPLC-QTOF-MS. Thus, pitaya pulp and peel showed no toxicity in both models tested (Vero cell lines and zebrafish model, LC ˃ 1 mg/mL); and a significant anxiolytic activity, since the treated fish reduced the permanence in the clear zone (Light&Dark Test) compared to that in the control, exhibiting anxiolytic-simile effect of diazepam. However, these effects were reduced by pre-treatment with the flumazenil suggesting that the pulp and peel of pitaya are anxiolytics agents mediated via the GABAergic system. These findings suggested that H. polyrizhus has the potential of developing an alternative plant-derived anxiolytic therapy. In addition, pitaya peel (which is a waste in the food industry) should be regarded as a valuable product, which has the potential as an economic value-added ingredient for anxiety disorders.