Pectin production and global market


Rosaria Ciriminna1, Alexandra Fidalgo2, Riccardo Delisi1, Laura M. Ilharco2, Mario Pagliaro*1
*Corresponding author
1. Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati, CNR, via U. La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
2. Centro de Química-Física Molecular and IN-Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology,
Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal


Pectin is a valued hydrocollid with multiple functional properties applied in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. In this study we describe pectin, its properties and sources, and identify the main market trends, drivers, and open opportunities.


Pectin is a ubiquitous natural polymer found in the primary walls of non-woody plant cells, whose large and increasing use as hydrocolloid (a substance capable to trap water and to form gels at low concentration) by the food industry is rapidly expanding into other industrial sectors (1). Even in the food sector, traditional usage as a gelling agent, thickening agent and stabilizer is being complemented by the emerging utilization of pectin as a fat replacer and health-promoting functional ingredient (2).
Today mainly obtained from citrus and apple peel, pectin is a block co-polymer comprising 1,4-α-linked galacturonic acid and 1,2-linked rhamnose with side branches of either 1,4-linked β-D-galactose or 1,5-α-linked L-arabinose (Figure 1).
Some of the C-6 carboxyls of the galacturonic acid backbone are esterified with methoxyl groups, while others are present as uronic acid salt giving to pectin dissolved in water excellent metal chelating properties. The gel-forming ability of pectin is due to the ease of association of pectin chains in water, leading to the formation of a three-dimensional network comprised of long seg ...