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ARS looks for pectin partners

13-Nov-2001

Food processing ingredient pectin could be made in the US instead of overseas for the first time in a decade, if a business partner to license new technology can be found by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the agency reports this week.



According to a recent ARS report each year the United States imports more than 7 million pounds of pectin at a cost of $6 to $12 per pound as a gelling agent in jellied foods and as a texturising agent in premixed yoghurt.



Researchers at the Crop Conversion Science and Engineering Unit, part of ARS's Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor have patented a microwave- based method to economically extract high quality pectin from orange peels for the first time.



Unlike lemon and lime peels, which are the common source of pectin and not available in large amounts in the US, orange peels are an abundant, low-cost byproduct of the U.S. orange juice industry. Most orange peels currently are used as low-value animal feed.



The ARS, chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is seeking businesses to put to work the new pectin technology.



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