Producing Pectin from Fruit Wastes


Pectin is a polysaccharide material that can be extracted from fruit pulp, and pods of citrus such as lemon, lime, oranges and grapes. In view of its high gel forming ability, pectin is widely used in the food industry, especially in the preparation of jams, jellies, fruit juices, preserved canned fruits, and in confectionaries. Medically, pectin is useful in the treatment of diarrhea.

The basic raw materials required for the production of pectin include, apple, pomace, or pods and pulp of citrus fruits. Some chemicals such as Aluminum Chloride and Alcohol may be required at some point in the production process. Pomace is obtained from fruits after juice extraction.

Production process initially involves obtaining dried pomace or pulp from fresh fruits. Pulp is dried to about 12% moisture content. Pomace/dried pulp is hydrated to remove soluble carbohydrates, salts, and coloring substances. Thereafter, the hydrated pulp/pomace is further subjected to extraction with a solution of 0.1-2% of citric acid for about 45 minutes. This process will result in the production of soluble pectin. This solution is then heated to a temperature of 1100F for 1hour 30 minutes.

The obtained pectin solution can be concentrated to 5% pectin content, and then pasteurized at a temperature of 1700F for 30 minutes, and then packed for sale.

Alternatively, Alcohol can be added to the pectin solution to produce pectin precipitation. The precipitate are pressed and dried at room temperature or under the sun or in ordinary ovens. The dried product is milled to about 100 mesh size and packaged.

The machinery for this process include, hydraulic press, vibratory sieve, storage tanks for fermentation, centrifuge for clarification, filter press, ball m ill/pulveriser, weighing machine, knives, tray, etc. This process will be adequate for a production capacity of 6,000 tonnes of pectin per annum.

The Author:

Dr. Bolarinwa Olugbemi, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Ondo State Office, P.M.. 656, Akure, Nigeria.

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