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What is Pectin?
1. Structure    2. Types of Pectin    3. Discovery & History    4. Commercial Production

1. Structure

Galacturonic Acid Unit  


Pectin for use in food is defined as a polymer containing galacturonic acid units (at least 65%). The acid groups may either be free, combined as a methyl ester, or as sodium, potassium, calcium or ammonium salts, and in some pectins amide groups may also be present.

Pectin in the plant starting material is part of a very complex structure, which gives shape to the soft non-woody parts of the plant. Plant cell wall structure diagram Pectin in this state contains a range of neutral sugar molecules, in a complex non-random structure, containing blocks of homogalacturonic acid (sometimes called "smooth regions"), and blocks containing many neutral sugar molecules (rhamnose, galactose, arabinose, and lesser amounts of other sugars) in a highly branched structure (sometimes referred to as "hairy regions").

                        Plant Wall Cell Structure

When pectin is extracted, much of the hairy regions are destroyed, leaving mainly the smooth galacturonic acid regions, with a few neutral sugar units attached or in the main linear chain. The nature and placing of these neutral sugars may vary with the source material, and have some influence on the properties of pectins from different origins. However, the biggest influence on pectin properties is the degree of esterification (DE), which determines, for example, the degree of reactivity with calcium and other cations.

1. Structure    2. Types of Pectin   3. Discovery & History    4. Commercial Production

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FACTS ABOUT PECTIN: What is Pectin · Safety and Legal Status · Applications
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