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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Dairy and Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #318914

Title: Modified sugar beet pectin induces apoptosis of colon cancer cells via interaction with the neutral sugar side-chains

item MAXWELL, ELLEN - Institute Of Food Research (IFR)
item COLQUHOUN, IAN - Institute Of Food Research (IFR)
item CLAUS, ROLIN - Cp Kelco Us, Inc
item Chau, Hoa - Rose
item Hotchkiss, Arland
item WALDRON, KEITH - Institute Of Food Research (IFR)
item MORRIS, VICTOR - Institute Of Food Research (IFR)
item BELSHAW, NIGEL - Institute Of Food Research (IFR)

Submitted to: Carbohydrate Polymers
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/21/2015
Publication Date: 9/26/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Maxwell, E.G., Colquhoun, I.J., Claus, R., Chau, H.K., Hotchkiss, A.T., Waldron, K.W., Morris, V.M., Belshaw, N.J. 2015. Modified sugar beet pectin induces apoptosis of colon cancer cells via interaction with the neutral sugar side-chains. Carbohydrate Polymers. 136:923-929. DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.09.063.

Interpretive Summary: While pectin is a common ingredient used in jams and other foods, small pectin fragments have anti-cancer activity reported to be due to blocking tumor cell metastasis. However, very little information is available other than pectin binding to a carbohydrate-binding protein that plays a significant role in cancer and other chronic diseases, or how it is absorbed in the gut. We report that the side chains in the pectin branched region are responsible for induction of colon cancer cell death. This new information provides a dietary means to potentially control and prevent cancer in the future.

Technical Abstract: Pectins extracted from a variety of sources and modified with heat and/or pH have previously been shown to exhibit activity towards several cancer cell lines. However, the structural basis for the anti-cancer activity of modified pectin requires clarification. Sugar beet and citrus pectin extracts have been compared. Pectin extracted from sugar beet pulp only weakly affected the viability of colon cancer cells. Alkali treatment increased the anti-cancer effect of sugar beet pectin via an induction of apoptosis. Alkali treatment decreased the degree of esterification (DE) and increased the ratio of rhamnogalacturonan I (RGI) to homogalacturonan. Low DE per se did not play a significant role in the anti-cancer activity. However, the enzymatic removal of galactose and, to a lesser extent, arabinose from the pectin decreased the effect on cancer cells indicating that the neutral sugar-containing RGI regions are important for pectin bioactivity.