Pectin - more than a natural gelling agent
While pectins are mostly recognized for their properties as natural gelling agents and thickener in a wide variety of products, it also offers both healthy and protective advantages for consumers. Obipektin AG, a member of the Natraceutical Group, has more than 75 years experience in the production of pectins, which can be seen by the variety and quality of pectins it offers and by the knowledge of their technical support team. Pectins benefit from a high level of acceptance among consumers. Being 100% natural, the addition of pectin is limited solely by Good Manufacturing Practices. Technically-speaking, pectin is a macromolecular carbohydrate consisting mainly of galacturonic acid with a molecular weight of up to 130'000 g.mol-1. The carboxyl groups of the polygalacturonic acid are partly esterified by methanol or are amidated. Depending on the percentage of ester groups and amino groups, pectins can be divided into three main types: 1. High methoxyl pectins are composed of more than 50% ester groups. These pectins are mainly used in high sugar jams and confectionery jellies. As they do not undergo any additional processing, they are favoured in health and beverage products. 2. Low methoxyl pectins, those containing less than 50% ester groups, are obtained through saponification. These pectins are used in bake stable fruit preparations, fruit preparations for yoghurt and low sugar fruit spreads. 3. If saponification takes place in the presence of ammonia, some of the methoxyl groups are replaced by amid groups and amidated pectins are attained. This type of pectin is used in products such as glazes and low sugar fruit spreads. In total, Obipektin offers more than 100 different pectins, each standardised to a specific application to meet customer requirements. While apple pomace is the traditional raw material used to produce our pectins, the product range has been expanded to contain citrus pectins to further meet customer needs. Obipektin is continuously innovating in the pectin field, recently soliciting a patent for the world's first organic pectin to meet a growing consumer desire for all organic products. Additionally, Obipektin is expanding the application of pectins far beyond its traditional use as a as a gelling agent and thickener. Pectins can be used to add dietary fibre and to stabilize specific compounds within applications, increasing their healthy profile and improve a products stability. Pectin as a soluble fibre The term "fibre" relates to substances that are not absorbed in the small intestine. They can be divided into soluble and insoluble fibres, the two groups having slightly different effects on the body. In the intestinal tract, insoluble fibres behave like a sponge, absorbing many times its weight in water, swelling up and helping to relieve constipation. On the other hand, soluble fibres form a gel as they pass through the digestive tract, preventing the absorption of various substances. This unique property has been thought to help fight against many modern diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis. Pectin itself is a soluble fibre, containing 80-90% natural soluble fibre. Fibres are essential part of an everyday healthy diet. The average consumption of fibres in western countries has been found to be as low as 18 g/day, while a balanced nutrition has been recommended to be approximately 30 g/day. Principally, it is possible to achieve this level with a varied diet containing large amounts of wholegrain cereals, fruits and vegetables. However, modern diets are often not widely varied, creating a strong consumer desire for convenient foods with a high concentration of dietary fibres. Pectins make it easier for consumers to reach a healthy level of daily fibre intake. Obipektin AG has developed a special high methoxyl apple pectin "HM ultra low viscosity" to enrich beverages such as satiating drinks, functional drinks, and healthy drinks rich in dietary fibre without notably increasing the viscosity of the end product.