Pectin, a traditional dietary fibre and prebiotic ingredient


*Corresponding author
CP Kelco ApS, Lille Skensved, Denmark


Pectin is extracted from various botanical origins and is well-known as a dietary fibre. Functional health claims have been made in different regions (e.g., EU and US), including the reduction of cholesterol and post-prandial blood glucose. As a dietary fibre, pectin is fermented by bacteria inhabiting the digestive tract. Recent research shows the selective effects on the gut microbiota composition and activity that make pectin and pectin-derived oligosaccharides serious prebiotic candidates. This review will highlight the recent findings on how the structure of pectin-derived ingredients influences its effects on gut health via modulation of the gut microbiota or direct, local immune modulation.


High fibre diets are recognised for several health benefits, including those related to gut health due to their impact on gut function, microbiota and local immune system. Besides the well-known effects on gut laxation, high fibre and prebiotic diets have been shown to increase the gut microbiota diversity that is considered key to maintain higher resilience and homeostasis (1). While it is generally recommended to consume around 30g of dietary fibres per day to maintain normal gut function, most populations in Western countries do not reach the recommended intake and only consume about half (2). This can result in a lower gut microbiota diversity and resilience. It also limits the potential benefits of prebiotic dietary supplementation (3). Therefore, there is still an interest to diversify the type of dietary fibres and prebiotics that we consume to enlarge their associated benefits.


Pectin is a polysaccharide commercially produced by extraction from plants; mainly from citrus peels, apple pomace and sugar beet pulp. The backbone of the pectin structure is composed of linear chains of alpha-(1,4)-galacturonic acid un ...