2019 Volume 88 Issue 3 Pages 410-419
Capparis spinosa L. is cultivated in the Mediterranean basin. In Spain, flower buds, unripe fruits, and tender shoots, either pickled or brined, are used as food. The main objective of the present work was to study the development of total polyphenols, flavonoids, and flavonols contents, total antioxidant activity (TAA) and physicochemical parameters of the flower buds (capers) in six development stages, for the first time, from three cultivars harvested in Spain. Total polyphenols, flavonoids and flavonols contents were very high in all stages of caper development, and were very similar in the three cultivars. The TAA values obtained by the DPPH method, hydrophilic TAA (H-TAA) and total polyphenols, as well as protein and sugar contents, tended to decrease as capers developed and increased in size. Also, H-TAA was significantly higher than lipophilic TAA (L-TAA) in the three cultivars. The results obtained from the current report draw attention to the antioxidant potential of capers, especially those of the ‘Collados 5’ cultivar, and showed that the antioxidant and nutritional properties of capers were better the smaller they were. Increased consumption of capers in the diet and their cultivation should be encouraged.