Orange Peel Carbohydrates May Have
Health-Promoting Properties By
September 12, 2003
Orange peels are an abundant source of carbohydrates that have
multiple health-promoting properties, according to in vitro results in a study
by an Agricultural Research Service
scientist and cooperators.
Arland T. Hotchkiss, a carbohydrate chemist at the ARS Eastern
Regional Research Center (ERRC) in
Wyndmoor, Pa., and cooperators demonstrated for the first time that pectin, a
type of carbohydrate in orange peel, has "prebiotic" properties. These
prebiotic carbohydrates, also known as oligosaccharides, are found in certain
fruits and vegetables. Prebiotics are nondigestible foods or nutrients that
increase the growth of beneficial "probiotic" bacteria in the large intestine.
Probiotic bacteria stimulate health and help prevent foodborne pathogen growth.
Prebiotics are beginning to be used in food products and in
animal feeds. Pectin is used as a gelling agent in jelly products and to
stabilize dairy products. Orange peels are used in cattle feed, but their value
is less than 5 cents a pound.
Hotchkiss is with the ERRC
Crop Conversion Science and Engineering
Research Unit. He collaborated with the University of Reading's Robert Rastall and
Glenn Gibson who found this new class of "anti-adhesive" prebiotics, those that
prevent pathogens from binding to the intestine.
Brian Kerr, an ARS researcher in
Ames, Iowa, is conducting research
to determine if this new generation of prebiotics has desirable health benefits
in swine production systems.
Hotchkiss and his colleagues are developing novel,
cost-effective methods to extract pectic prebiotics. This research could
benefit citrus growers and processors by adding value to these
ARS is interested in cooperating with a commercial partner to
further develop and commercialize this technology. ARS is the chief scientific
research agency of the U.S. Department of