Develop an enzyme-based technology for precise nano-structure engineering of the valuable citrus peel polysaccharide pectin. <P>
This will enable defined tailoring of pectin structure to impart novel functionality for optimal stability and utility in food product formulations. This is sought to improve demand for pectin utilization from U.S. biobased feedstocks.
APPROACH: Pectin methylesterase (PME) will be purified from an industrial papaya enzyme source and directly from papaya fruit. Biochemical and structural characterization will be performed as demonstrated in previous investigations of citrus PMEs. The enzyme(s) will be applied to produce a demethylation series in a model pectin. Introduced changes in pectin nano-structure will be characterized for demethylated block size and number of blocks per molecule, and population charge heterogeneity also will be determined. Finally, rheological properties will be determined and correlated to nano-structural features.