Botanical Extraction

Three Astonishing Benefits of Red Pitaya Peels You Need to Know

Written by Della O’Brian

Research recently revealed that Red Pitaya peel is a superior choice for food coloring, answering the call of those wanting non-artificial and less artificial additives- a growing consumer preference. [1]

Below are three benefits of red pitaya peels.


1- Using the peels of Red Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) is a sustainable solution to the current disposal of massive amounts of the peels after the fruit’s pulp is used.

Although the plant is native to the southern and central parts of America, it is mass-produced and shipped all around the world. Around 35% of the fruit’s weight is the peel. Unfortunately, it is discarded as a bio residue in bulk. [1]


2- Dragon fruit peel extracts provide vibrant, natural food coloring.

The assorted colors associated with the various species come from betalains, which are tyrosine-derived yellow, red, and sometimes purple pigments. Betalains are part of what makes red pitaya a fantastic food coloring. [1]

Using the dragon fruit peels as food coloring provides a healthier, natural option with great socio-economic benefits and promotes sustainability. Its utilization allows the global community to reduce environmental damage, a growing concern. [1]


3- Red Pitaya peel provides ample health benefits.

A study by Singh found that the peels provide antioxidant, hypocholesterolemic, anticancer, and antibacterial properties, and they are useful for their prebiotic effects. [2]

In a recent study by Roriz et al., researchers employed ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) to extract the betalains from Hylocereus costaricensis (red pitaya). Response surface methodology (RSM) ensured the extract was rich with betacyanin and had an excellent capacity for producing color. [1]

As a result of the experiment, Roriz et al. found antibacterial and antihemolytic applications for red pitaya extract. Also, the researchers found no hepatoxicity. [1]

Since many bacterial strains are proving to be antibiotic-resistant, the world needs the antibacterial qualities of red pitaya. Additionally, the anti-hemolytic qualities mean red pitaya provides antioxidant benefits. [1]

The key takeaway is that the red pitaya peel provides solutions to many current issues citizens of the world face. It can replace unnatural food coloring and offer a solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Best of all, it is already there, being treated like garbage. Using red pitaya peel means that 35% of the plant will not be thrown away. All of this makes dragon fruit an extensively valuable resource.



1-Roriz CL, Heleno SA, Alves MJ, et al. Red pitaya (Hylocereus costaricensis) peel as a source of valuable molecules: Extraction optimization to recover natural colouring agents. Food Chem. 2022;372:131344. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.131344


2-Singh KP. Medicinal properties of mulberry: A review. Indian Drugs. 1997;34(09):488-492.

About the author

Della O’Brian