Physico-Chemical Properties of Pectins in the Cell Walls and After Extraction

  • J.-F. Thibault
  • M.-C. Ralet


Pectins are present as structural polysaccharides in the middle lamella and the primary cell-walls of higher plants. They are part of our diet either as additives in some food products or as constituants of the raw materials used in the food products. Their physico-chemical properties, within the cell wall matrix or after extraction, are of prime importance both from a functional and a nutritional point of view.

Industrial pectins are extracted from by-products of the fruit juice industry (apple pomace or citrus peels). They are extracted in acidic conditions and chemically modified to give High Methoxy (HM) pectins and Low Methoxy (LM) pectins (some may be also amidated). The properties of these two main types of differ widely. The HM pectins form gels in acidic conditions and in presence of sugars whereas the LM pectins needs calcium for gelation. The gelation mechanisms are directly linked to the conformation of the molecules, to their polyelectrolyte nature, and to the amount and distribution of the substituents (methyl, amid ...). The characteristics of the surrounding solutions (pH, ionic strength, nature of the ions, presence of cosolutes, temperature..) may also play key roles. The application areas of these gels are mainly in the food industries: jams, marmelades, jellies, confectionery...Their stabilizing properties are now more and more used, for instance in acid milk products.

Within the cell wall, the pectins may have another range of important properties in relation to ion-binding and to hydration which depend on numerous parameters. Furthermore, the physical structure of the matrix is also very important and particle size, surface area, porosity have to be considered in the dietary fibre context.


Dietary Fibre Apple Pomace Hydration Property Divalent Metal Cation Citrus Peel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Auffret A., Ralet, M.-C., Guillon, F., Barry, J.-L. and Thibault, J.-F. (1994) Effect of grinding and experimental conditions on the measurement of hydration properties of dietary fibres, Lebensm. Wiss. und Technol. 27, 166–172.Google Scholar
  2. Axelos, M.A.V. and Thibault, J.-F. (1991) The chemistry of low-methoxyl pectin gelation, in: The Chemistry and Technology of Pectin (Walter, R.H. Ed.), pp. 109–117. New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron-Epel, O., Gharyl, P.K. and Schindler, M. (1988) Pectins as mediators of wall porosity in soybean cells, Planta 175, 389–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carpita, N.C. and Gibeaut, D.M. (1993) Structural models of primary cell walls in flowering plants: consistency of molecular structure with the physical properties of the walls during growth, Plant J. 3, 130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carpita, N.C., Sabularse, D., Montezinos, D. and Delmer, D.P. (1979) Determination of the pore size of cell walls of living plant cells, Science 205 1144–1147.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chesson, A. (1998) Cell wall porosity and available surface area: their measurement and significance, in: Plant Polysaccharides in Human Nutrition: Structure, Function, Digestive Fate and Metabolic Effects (Guillon, F., Abraham, G., Amado, R. et al. Eds.), pp. 2–5. Nantes: Imprimerie Parenthèses, INRA.Google Scholar
  7. Cho, S., DeVries, J.W. and Prosky, L. (1997) Dietary fiber content of foods, in: Dietary Fiber Analysis and Applications (gaithersburg, M.D. Ed.), pp. 119–138. AOAC International.Google Scholar
  8. Cloutour, F. (1995) Caractéristiques des fibres alimentaires: influence sur leur fermentation in vitro par la flore digestive de l’homme, PhD thesis, University of Nantes, France.Google Scholar
  9. Dronnet, V.M., Renard, C.M.G.C., Axelos, M.A.V. and Thibault, J.-F. (1997) Binding of divalent metal cations bv sugar-beet pulp, Carbohydr. Polym. 34, 73–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dronnet, V.M., Axelos, M.A.V, Renard, C.M.G.C. and Thibault, J.-F. (1998a) Improvement of the binding capacity of divalent metal cations by sugar-beet pulp. 1. Impact of cross-linking treatments on composition, hydration and binding properties, Carbohydr. Polym. 35, 29–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dronnet, V.M., Axelos, M.A.V, Renard, C.M.G.C. and Thibault, J.-F. (1998b) Improvement of the binding capacity of divalent metal cations by sugar-beet pulp. 2. Binding of divalent metal cations by modified sugar-beet pulp, Carbohydr. Polym. 35, 239–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eastwood, M.A. (1992) The physiological effects of dietary fibre: an update, Ann. Rev. Nutr. 12, 19–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Endress, H.-N. and Fischer, J. (2001) Fibres and fibre blends for individual needs: a physiological and technical approach, in: Advanced Dietary Fibre Technology (McCleary, B.V. and Prosky, L. Eds.), pp. 283–297. Oxford: Blackwell Science.Google Scholar
  14. Gama, F.M., Teixeira, J.A. and Mota, M. (1994) Cellulose morphology and enzymatic reactivity: a modified solute exclusion technique, Biotechnol. Bioeng. 43, 381–387.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gamier, C., Axelos, M.A.V. and Thibault, J.-F. (1994) Selectivity and cooperativity in the binding of calcium ions by pectins, Carbohydr. Res. 256, 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gidley, M.J., Morris, E.R., Murray, E.J., Powell, D.A. and Rees, D.A. (1979) Spectroscopic and stoichiometric characterization of the calcium-mediated association of pectate chains in gels and in the solid state, J. Chem. Soc. Chem. Commun. 22, 990–992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gieringer, R., Steinert, P., Buttersack, C. and Buchholz, K. (1995) Anisotropic swelling of cell walls of sugar beet tissue: influence of ion-exchange and sucrose, J. Sci. Food Agric. 68, 439–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guillon, F., Auffret, A., Robertson, J.A., Thibault, J.-F. and Barry, J.-L. (1998) Relationships between physical characteristics of sugar-beet fibre and its fermentability by human feacal flora, Carbohydr. Polym. 37, 185–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Joye, D.D. and Luzio, G.A. (2000) Process for selective extraction of pectins from plant material by different pH, Carbohydr. Polym. 43, 337–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kohn, R., Markovic, O. and Machova, E. (1983) Deesterification mode of pectin by pectin esterases of Aspergillus foetidus, tomatoes and alfalfa, Collec. Czech. Chem. Commun. 48, 790–797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Larrauri, J.A. (1999) New approaches in the preparation of high dietary fibre powders from fruit by-products, Trends in Food Sci. and Technol. 10, 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leskauskaité, D., Liutkevichius, A. and Valantinaité, A. (1998) Influence of the level of pectin on the process of protein stabilization in an acidified milk system, Milchwiss. 53, 149–152.Google Scholar
  23. May, C. (1990) Industrial pectins: sources, production and applications, Carbohydr. Polym. 12, 79–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Morris, E.R., Powell, D.A., Gidley, M. and Rees, D.A. (1982) Conformations and interactions of pectins I. Polymorphism between gel and solid states of calcium polygalacturonate, J. Mol. Biol. 155, 507–516.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Oakenfull, D. and Scott, A. (1984) Hydrophobic interaction in the gelation of high methoxyl pectins, J. Food Sci. 49, 1093–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Parker, A., Boulenguer, P. and Kravtchenko, T.P. (1994) Effect of the addition of high methoxy pectin on the rheology and colloidal stability of acid milk drinks, in: Food Hydrocolloids: Structure, Properties and Functions (Nishinari, K. and Doi, E. Eds.), pp. 307–312. New-York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Racapé, E., Thibault, J.-F., Reitsma, J.C.E. and Pilnik, W. (1989) Properties of amidated pectins. II. Polyelectrolyte behavior and calcium binding of amidated pectins and amidated pectic acids, Biopolymers 28, 1435–1448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ralet, M.-C., Dronnet, V., Buchholt, H.C. and Thibault, J.-F. (2001) Enzymatically and chemically deesterified lime pectins: characterisation, polyelectrolyte behaviour and calcium binding properties, Carbohydr. Res. 336, 117–125.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Renard, C.M.G.C., Crépeau, M.-J. and Thibault, J.-F. (1994) Influence of ionic strength, pH and dielectric constant on hydration properties of native and modified fibres from sugar-beet and wheat bran, Indust. Crops Prod. 3, 75–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Renard, C.M.G.C. and Jarvis, M.C. (1999) Acetylation and methylation of homogalacturonans. Part II. Effect on ion-binding properties and conformations, Carbohydr. Polym. 39, 209–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Renard, C.M.G.C. and Thibault, J.-F. (1991) Composition and physico-chemical properties of apple fibres from fresh fruits and industrial products, Lebensm. Wiss. und Technol. 24, 523–527.Google Scholar
  32. Robertson, J.A., de Monredon, F.D., Dysseler, P., Guillon, F., Amado, R. and Thibault, J.-F. (2000) Hydration properties of dietary fibre and resistant starch: a European collaborative study, Lebensm. Wiss. und Technol. 33, 72–79.Google Scholar
  33. Rolin, C., Nielsen, B.U. and Glahn, P.-E. (1998) Pectin, in: Polysaccharides, structural diversity and functional versatility (Dimitrin, S. Ed.), pp. 377–431. London: Marcel Dekker.Google Scholar
  34. Ryden, P. and Robertson, J.A. (1998) Fermentability of defined fibres and the effect of fermentation on their binding properties for MeIQx, in: Plant Polysaccharides in Human Nutrition: Structure, Function, Digestive Fate and Metabolic Effects (Guillon, F., Abraham, G., Amado, R. et al. Eds.), pp. 20–23. Nantes: Imprimerie Parenthèses, INRA.Google Scholar
  35. Thébaudin, J.Y., Lefebvre, A.C., Harrington, M. and Bourgeois, C.M. (1997) Dietary fibres: nutritional and technological interest, Trends in Food Sci. and Technol. 8, 41–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thibault, J.F. and Rinaudo, M. (1985) Interactions of mono- and divalent counterions with alkali- and enzyme-deesterified pectins in salt-free solutions, Biopolymers 24, 2131–2143 .CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tibbits, C.W., MacDougall, A.J. and Ring, S.G. (1998) Calcium binding and swelling behaviour of a high methoxyl pectin gel, Carbohydr. Res. 310, 101–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Voragen, A.G.J., Pilnik, W., Thibault, J.-F., Axelos, M.A.V. and Renard, C.M.G.C. (1995) Pectins, in: Food Polysaccharides (Stephen, A.M. Ed.), pp. 287–339. London: Marcel Dekker.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.-F. Thibault
    • 1
  • M.-C. Ralet
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut National de la Recherche AgronomiqueUnité de Recherche sur les Polysaccharides, leurs Organisations et InteractionsFrance

Personalised recommendations