Pectin, a remarkable polysaccharide, is a pivotal ingredient in various food products, appreciated for its remarkable gelling, stabilizing, and thickening properties. 

Pectin's unique properties are deeply rooted in its molecular structure. Being a complex polysaccharide, primarily composed of galacturonic acid units that are bonded by (1, 4)- α links and various content of methyl esters

The distinctive composition and intermolecular bonds play a crucial role in defining pectin's functionality and behavior. Pectin's gelation process involves a series of intricate steps, primarily influenced by Degree of Methoxylation or Esterification (DE), Average Molecular weight, Ionic strength, pH, temperature and total solids in the confection.

The interplay of these factors dictates the gelation process and the resulting texture, enabling food manufacturers to fine-tune their products to meet consumer expectations consistently while having well controlled and efficient processes

Chat icon

Source and Processing

Pectin is found in the cell walls of various fruits where its function is the movement of water through the cell wall and as binding material for cellulose. Found abundantly in apple pomace (15-20%) and citrus peels (30-35%) and obtained by acidic extraction.

The most common pectins in nature are called High Metoxyl pectins (HM), by referring to them by their Degree of Esterification, while Low metxyl pectins are typically derived from HM pectins through chemical or enzymatic de-esterification, aiming to achieve a composition with less than 50% of carboxyl groups in the methyl ester form

 Main function in Confections

Pectin is widely employed in an array of products, including gummies, jellies, jams, beverages, fruit preparations for yogurt, desserts, and more. Additionally, pectin finds application in versatile areas such as edible films, paper substitutes, foams, and plasticizers.

Its main functions include:

  • Gelling Agent
  • Texture Enhancement
  • Fat Replacement

Molecular Structure

Chemical Formula: (C6H12O6)n


Hygroscopicity: Pectin exhibits hygroscopic behavior, absorbing and retaining moisture. This property influences the texture and shelf life of confections.

Crystalline Arrangement: Pectin can form gels through a controlled crystalline arrangement, contributing to the structure and consistency of jams and jellies.

Solubility: Pectin is soluble in water, forming colloidal solutions that contribute to the viscosity and gelling properties of confections.


Pectin is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is listed under 21 CFR 184.1588.

Back to Top   ▲