Cacti: Ecology, Conservation, Uses and Significance


Series: Plant Science Research and Practices
BISAC: TEC003030

Cactaceae is a botanical family composed of arborescent, shrub, climbing, globose, discoid or epiphytic species, being almost all endemic to the Americas. Cactaceae occurs between latitudes 35º North and South, both at sea level and up to over 5000m altitude. In this way, their species have the capacity to grow in different ecosystems. However, the greatest diversity is found in arid and semi-arid regions, where they are important sources of resources for several species of vertebrates and invertebrates, mainly in the drought season, when there is a great shortage of resources.

In addition, some species of cacti represent an important source of food resources for humans and their herds, as well as having enormous ornamental value. Thus, cacti have always aroused the because of their morphological peculiarities and chemical properties. Due to this, cacti have now been the subject of diverse studies. This book brings studies of several areas of plant biology, ecology, conservation and uses of cacti.

The first four chapters compose the part related to ecology and conservation. Several species of Cactaceae in Brazil and the world are seriously endangered, with about 31% of the family categorized as threatened. Chapter 1 discusses the importance and how the ex situ conservation of cacti is carried out in the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. In Chapter 2, the authors carried out population studies of two species of endemic cacti of Chapada Diamantina, Brazil, in order to evaluate the population structure of the species for decision-making in relation to their conservation. In Chapter 3, authors studied the biogeography and conservation of Discocactus species that are endemic to South America. In Chapter 4, the authors discuss the floral morphology and the ecological interactions highlighting the importance of conservation of cacti for ecosystems maintenance.

Chapters 5 to 10 address issues related to the uses and significance of cacti. Chapter 5 discusses cacti of the genus Pereskia with a healthy diet alternative due to its nutritional properties. The toxicological evaluation, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of plant extracts is discussed in Chapter 6, specifically, roots of Cereus jamacaru.

In Chapter 7 the use of fibers from Opuntia species in the manufacture of Agave juice is evaluated, due to the importance of including fibers in human consume, because dietary fiber may contribute in the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular illnesses. The antioxidant activity of prickly pear of Opuntia is discussed in Chapter 8, because besides betalains, prickly pear contains vitamins and phenolics. In Chapter 9, the research describes the industrial applications of the berry as well as key points for future research. And in Chapter 10, bioactive compounds of Opuntia oligacantha were determined, as well as their antioxidant capacity, antimicrobial activity and shelf life.

All the studies presented in this book are of great importance and serve as a basis for further research to be carried out to make the species of the Cactaceae family be seen beyond their ornamental value.
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. The Importance of Ex-Situ Conservation: The Challenges of the Cactarium at Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
(Diego Rafael Gonzaga and Ricardo Carneiro da Cunha Reis, Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Chapter 2. Population Studies on Two Endemic Cacti Species from Chapada Diamantina: Arrojadoa bahiensis (P.J.Braun and Esteves) and Micranthocereus hofackerianus (P.J.Braun and Esteves) M. Machado
(Cezar Neubert Gonçalves and Felipe Weber Mesquita, ICMBIO, Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras, Bahia, Brazil)

Chapter 3. Biogeography and Conservation Status Assessment of Discocactus Pfeiff. (Cactaceae): An Endemic Genus of South America
(Marianna Rodrigues Santos, Flávia C.P. Garcia, Nigel P. Taylor and Christiano F. Verola, Instituto Federal do Norte de Minas Gerais, CEAD, Rua Professor Monteiro Fonseca, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil, and others)

Chapter 4. Floral Biology of Cacti and Ecological Implications
(Weverson Cavalcante Cardoso, Alice Calvente, PhD, Odair José Garcia de Almeida, PhD, and Cássia Monica Sakuragui, PhD, Department of Botany, National Museum, Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, and others)

Chapter 5. Cacti of the Genus Pereskia: An Alternative Source for Healthy Eating
(Martha Elisa Ferreira de Almeida, Henrique Silvano Arruda, José Antônio de Souza Cruz Ramos and Thalita Riquelme Augusto-Obara, Institute of Biological Sciences and Health, Federal University of Viçosa, Rio Paranaíba, Minas Gerais, Brazil, and others)

Chapter 6. Toxicological Evaluation, Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Extract from Cereus jamacaru dc. Root
(Cássia Tatiana da S. Andrade, Debora M. Marchesine de Almeida, Addla Thaine S. Oliveira, Ana Carolina M. Barboza, Amanda S. Barbosa, Albert de S. Peixoto, Adla Gabriela F. de Jesus Silva, Carla Patrícia N. Luz, Leandra Eugênia G. de Oliveira, Angélica Maria Lucchese and Marilene L. da Rocha, Department of Biological Sciences, Laboratory of Pharmacology of Natural and Bioactive Products, Feira de Santana State University, Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil, and others)

Chapter 7. Crystallized Sour Prickly Pear (Opuntia joconostle) with Addition of Dietetic Fiber of Aguamiel of Maguey (Agave salmiana)
(Diana J. Pimentel-González, Ana Figueira, Alma D. Hernández-Fuentes, Fabián Fernandez-Luqueño, Gabriela Medina-Peréz and Rafael.G. Campos-Montiel, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo, Tulancingo, Hidalgo, México, and others)

Chapter 8. Phytochemicals from Prickly Pear (Opuntia SP.) and Their Antioxidant Activity
(Alberto Castañeda-Yañez, Sandra T. Martín del Campo and Anaberta Cardador Martínez, Department of Bioengineering, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Querétaro, Mexico)

Chapter 9. Berrycacti (Myrtillocactus spp.): An Unexplored Mexican Crop with Nutraceutical Potential
(Priscila D. Santiago-Mora, Carmen Téllez-Pérez, Klaus Tenbergen, José G. Montejano-Gaitán, Anaberta Cardador-Martínez and Sandra T. Martín del Campo, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Querétaro, México, and others)

Chapter 10. Quality of Sauces of C. F. Förster Fruit (Xoconostle ‘Ulapa’)
(José Manuel Pinedo Espinoza, Luis Rene Rodarte Medina, Rafael German Campos Montiel, Rubén Jiménez Alvarado and Alma Delia Hernández Fuentes, Autonomous University of Zacatecas “Francisco García Salinas”, Academic Unit of Agronomy, Zacatecas, Mexico, and others)



Universities, college students, cactus and succulent researchers. In addition to Cactus and Succulent Associations such as British Cactus & Succulent Society and Cactus and Succulent Society of America, among others around the world


Cactaceae, Plant Biology, Cacti Importance, Cacti Species, Plant Ecology

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