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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Microwave Method to Extract Pectin from Citrus
See also: US Patent Office Full Record

Patent Number: 6143337
Docket Number: 18798
Serial Number: 9302962
Date Patented: 11/07/2000

Technology Description:

ARS scientists have developed a method for extracting pectin from citrus fruits using microwave technology. This technology uses microwaves to heat fruit peels and acidified water in pressure-resistant containers. Using this method, pectin can be extracted in 10 minutes. Less energy is used, and the pectin is a higher quality than when extracted using conventional heating. Industry uses conventional heating to extract pectin from fruit peels. It can take more than an hour to process a batch of fruit peels. Overheating can reduce pectin quality by breaking it down. Pectin is a natural ingredient mostly present in the pulp, peel and albedo--the white material between the outer peel and fruit sections--of citrus fruits. Pectin is also found in apples and sugar beets. It is used as a gelling agent in jelly foods and as a texturizer in premixed yogurt to give it a smooth texture and pleasant mouth feel. Pectin is an imported high-value product that costs about $6 to $8 a pound. Cutting the extraction time could reduce this cost significantly and open the door for domestic pectin production for the first time in decades.


Please refer to Patent Number 6,143,337, "Flash Extraction of Pectin by Microwave Heating Under Pressure," which issued on November 7, 2000.


Marshall L. Fishman
Plant Science and Technology Research
Wyndmoor, PA 19038-8598
(215) 233-6450 / Fax: (215) 233-6406

 Hoa K. Chau
(Same as first inventor)
(215) 233-6636 / Fax: (215) 233-6406


Last Modified: 10/1/2015