Digestion and colonic fermentation of raw and cooked Opuntia ficus-Indica cladodes impacts bioaccessibility and bioactivity
he bioactivity of (poly)phenols from a food is an interplay between the cooking methods applied and the interaction of the food with the gastrointestinal tract. The (poly)phenolic profile and biological activity of raw and cooked cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica Mill.) cladodes following in vitro digestion and colonic fermentation were evaluated. Twenty-seven (poly)phenols were identified and quantified by HPLC-ESI-MS, with piscidic acid being the most abundant. Throughout the colonic fermentation, flavonoids showed more degradation than phenolic acids, and eucomic acid remained the most relevant after 24 h. The catabolite 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propionic acid was generated after 24 h of fermentation. Cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and cell cycle analyses were performed in HT29 cells. Cactus colonic fermentates showed higher cell viability (>= 80%) in comparison to the control fermentation with no cactus and significantly (p < 0.05) reduced H2O2-induced DNA damage in HT29 cells. Results suggest that, although phenolic compounds were degraded during the colonic fermentation, the biological activity is retained in colon cells.