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ARS Seeks Business Partners for Pectin Making and Other Technologies

By Kim Kaplan
November 5, 2001

Pectin, an important food processing ingredient, could be made domestically 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.

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 texturizing agent in premixed yogurt.

Researchers at the Crop Conversion Science and Engineering Unit, part of ARS’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa., 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 this country, 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.

Now, ARS is seeking businesses to put to work the new pectin technology and others it has developed. Since research results are patented, ARS can offer a license to a private company to bring a product to market.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief research agency. It is also a leader among federal agencies and departments in commercial licenses and cooperative research agreements. Other ARS technology available for license can be found at: