Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 10, Issue 11, pp 3634–3646 | Cite as

Analytical Methods for Pectin Methylesterase Activity Determination: a Review

  • Jesús A. Salas-Tovar
  • Adriana C. Flores-Gallegos
  • Juan C. Contreras-Esquivel
  • S. Escobedo-García
  • Jesús A. Morlett-Chávez
  • Raúl Rodríguez-Herrera


Pectin methylesterase is an enzyme with an important in vivo role in plants as well as in food industry. This enzyme catalyzes the hydrolysis of methyl ester bounds in pectin which is one of the main components of cell wall in plants, producing methanol and free carboxylic groups. The effect of pectin methylesterase in food quality has been extensively studied, producing desirable effects in texture improvement as well as undesirable effects in some beverages. Likewise, the low methoxyl pectin produced by this enzyme has characteristics that contribute to formulate best quality food products. Pectin methylesterase is a ubiquitously enzyme that presents multiple isoforms, but is not only present in plants; it is also found in fungi, bacteria, and yeast, which have specific chemical and physical characteristics. The latter makes the task of analyzing the wide variety of these enzymes with its specific characteristics difficult. Based on this enzyme relevance and the aforementioned, multiple methods have been developed in order to evaluate pectin methylesterase activity with different research objectives. In this paper, the importance of the enzyme as well as advantages and drawbacks of the different methods will be discussed besides applications and evolution of these will be mentioned. Additionally, this paper will improve the understanding of the systems used in pectin methylesterase activity analysis.


Pectin methylesterase (PME) Alcohol oxidase (AO) Pectin Methanol Carboxyl groups 



This project was financially supported by The Secretary of Agriculture, Fishing, and Livestock, through the Project FON.SEC. SAGARPA-CONACYT CV-2015-4-266936. J.A.S.T wants to thank to the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) for the financial support during his postgraduate studies.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

J.A. Salas-Tovar declares that he has no conflict of interest. A.C. Flores-Gallegos declares that she has no conflict of interest. J.C. Contreras-Esquivel declares that he has no conflict of interest. S. Escobedo-García declares that she has no conflict of interest. J.A. Morlett-Chávez declares that he has no conflict of interest. R. Rodríguez-Herrera declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesús A. Salas-Tovar
    • 1
  • Adriana C. Flores-Gallegos
    • 1
  • Juan C. Contreras-Esquivel
    • 1
  • S. Escobedo-García
    • 1
  • Jesús A. Morlett-Chávez
    • 2
  • Raúl Rodríguez-Herrera
    • 1
  1. 1.Food Research Department, School of ChemistryUniversidad Autónoma de CoahuilaSaltilloMexico
  2. 2.Clinical and Molecular Diagnosis LaboratoryUniversidad Autónoma de CoahuilaSaltilloMexico

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