What is Pectin (E440)? Types, Uses, Safe and Benefits 

What is Pectin (E440)? Types, Uses, Safe and Benefits 


Table of Contents

Pectin (E440) is a natural substance that occurs in the cell wall of fruits and vegetables. It’s present in all areas of the plant, but the highest amount is found in the fruit. Pectin has many uses and benefits. Types of pectin include high methoxy pectin, low methoxy pectin, liquid pectin and dried pectin. The type used depends on the end use for which it is intended.

What is Pectin?


Pectin is a soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables. It’s a carbohydrate that your body can’t digest, which means it passes through the digestive tract.

Pectin helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals. It also works with other fibers to help push waste out of your body. Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that binds to water and other foods while they pass through the intestines. This makes them swell up and become softer, which can help reduce appetite by making you feel fuller sooner.

Soluble fibers may also help lower blood cholesterol levels, which could reduce your risk of heart disease. They also slow down digestion, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.


What are the sources of Pectin?


Most vegetables and fruits contain pectin in their cell walls and middle layer of cells. Citrus peels and apple pomace are the main sources of pectin for commercial production. Both types of derived pectin are high in methoxyl.

1. Apple pomace


In the apple juice manufacturing process, apple pomace is one of the main by-products. Pectin is made from apple pomace after juice is extracted from apples. Pectin content in dry pomace ranges from 10% to 20%.

There are numerous uses for apple pectin, including thickening dairy products, gelling jams and jellies, blending drink mixes and stabilizing food.

2. Citrus peel


Pectin is most commonly obtained from citrus peel rather than apple pomace, which is low in pectin. Citrus pectin is extracted from citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits.

During citrus fruit processing, citrus peel is the main byproduct. In terms of dry weight, it is composed of about 20-30% pectin. It has a high esterification degree, high gelation, and large molecular weight compared to other types of pectin.

3. Other sources


Different types, origins, maturities, storage periods and manufacturing processes affect pectin content. In addition to the above two main sources, the following fruits also contain pectin:

  • Apricot
  • Blackberry
  • Cherry
  • Peach
  • Pineapple

What is pectin made of?


A food-grade polysaccharide, pectin consists of two parts: 65% galacturonic acid, 35% other polysaccharides and some little monosaccharides.

D-galacturonic acid


The main part of pectin’s structure is composed of D-galacturonic acid units polymerized by 1,4 glycosidic linkages. A portion of the carboxyl groups are present as methyl esters (methylated).

Galacturonic acid has the remaining carboxyl groups as free acids or as salts of potassium, sodium, ammonium, calcium, etc.

A food grade pectin should contain no less than 65% galacturonic acid, which is the percentage of total galacturonic acid.

Other polysaccharides


In addition to neutral saccharides, side chains are also present. Among these saccharides are galactose, rhamnose, arabinose, fucose, xylose, mannose, and others.

Esterification level or methoxylation level


Most galacturonic acids are esterified with methoxy groups, amide groups, etc. Polygalacturonic acid is methylated, acetylated and amidated on the main chain of pectin to determine the degree of esterification (DE).

In pectin, DM refers to the level of methylation of polygalacturonic acid. Pectin DE is almost the same as pectin DM.

It is also an important factor that affects pectin’s solubility, gel properties, and emulsion stability, which determines the type of pectin.

There is usually a difference between DEs due to the origin of raw materials and the manufacturing process. In general, it ranges from 30% (e.g. sunflower pectin) to 70% (e.g. citrus and apple pectin).

The different types of pectin


According to the degree of esterification (DE), there are three types of pectin:

  1. Pectin with high methoxyl content (HMP): DE >50% (typically 55-75%)
  2. LMP (low methoxyl pectin): DE*50% (typically 20% – 40%)
  3. Methoxylated amidated pectin (LMAP): 25% of the degree of amidation, 25% of the degree of DE, 50% of the degree of amidation.

The E number of HMP and LMP is E450i, while LMAP’s E number is E450ii.

1. High methoxyl pectin


It is also known as HM pectin, with a DE of over 50%. The main use of this product is to produce high-calorie and high-sugar foods, including jams and jellies (which are high in sugar).





Pectin’s gel strength is one of the main characteristics that determine its quality. When certain conditions are met, the solids (usually sucrose and glucose) form a gel.

When HM pectin is combined with a high soluble solid content and a low pH, heat irreversible gel is formed. Pectin must be cooked at a high temperature to form a gel, whereas LM pectin does not require cooking. Temperature (e.g. 50-70°C)

When sodium alginate is added after cooking, pectin forms thermo-reversible gels.

Gel strength

In general, DE is correlated with gel strength and gelation speed (the higher the DE, the faster the gel forms). The gel formed by HM pectin is more elastic and brittle than that produced by LM pectin at higher temperatures.

Gel mechanism

Different DE values result in different gel formation mechanisms for HM pectin and LM pectin. Hydrophobic bond interactions between hydrogen bonds and methyl ester groups are responsible for the gel formation of HM pectin. An example of such a gelling mechanism is sugar-acid-pectin gelation.


As the DE value decreases, the setting time and set temperature will increase. According to the setting time and temperature, HM pectin can be divided into three types: rapid set, medium rapid set, and slow set.

Rapid & slow set

Pectin that sets quickly at a higher temperature is called rapid set pectin. Jams and jellies requiring suspension of fruits can be made with it, as well as small batches of jam for home use.

Pectin with a slow gelling process forms slowly. A large scale jam or clear jelly without suspension is usually made this way.


Gels are best formed at pH 2.0 – 3.8. When the pH is higher than 3.8, high ester pectin cannot form gels. However, in the over-acid environment, pectin will decompose and the gelation degree will be reduced.

Soluble solids content

Generally, high-ester pectin gels best when it contains more than 55% soluble solids. Gelation is usually facilitated by adding sugar as soluble solids.

Pectin content

With pectin levels between 0.3-0.5%, gels can be formed.

2. Low methoxyl pectin


It is also known as LM pectin. It is used to make low-calorie and low-sugar foods. In the production of this product, HM pectin is acidified, alkalized, and enzyme de-esterified. Jams and jellies with low sugar or savory flavors can use it.





Gelation of LM pectin requires less soluble solid content, but divalent cations such as calcium ions are needed (usually in the form of calcium lactate rather than calcium chloride, which is bitter and cannot be used for making delicious jams and jellies).

The gel formed is thermally reversible and can be gelled with a low content of soluble solids. The lower the gel temperature, the greater the degree of esterification.

In general, it gels under the following conditions:

  • The pH ranges from 2.6 to 7.0.
  • Solids soluble in water: 10 to 80%.


Calcium ions can react with a carboxyl group in pectin, forming a negative charge between two carboxyl groups. The calcium ions can combine with pectin molecules without requiring a lot of sugar, unlike HM pectin. The gel is formed in this way with LM pectin.

The difference between high- and low-methoxyl pectin


In addition to the comparisons above, the following differences also exist:

  1. Solubility: pectin with a high DE is less hydrophilic, so it is less soluble in water or agglomerate than pectin with a low DE. Such problems can be solved by raising the dissolution temperature.
  2. A solution with a pH value of 2.5-4.5 is stable for HM pectin, whereas low acidity solutions are stable for LM pectin. Too much acid will convert HM pectin to LM pectin.

3. Low methoxyl amidated pectin


Another type of LM pectin, low methoxyl amidated pectin (LMAP), is made by reacting HM pectin with ammonia. There is no way to consider it a natural additive.

LMAP contains carboxyl groups that are partially methyl esters and partly amide esters. There is usually not more than 25% amidated galacturonic acid in food-grade galacturonic acid, which has the amidation degree (DA).




In comparison with common LM pectin, LMAP gelates at a lower temperature.

After being heated, melted, and cooled, LMAP forms a thermally reversible gel. In contrast to common LM pectin, it requires a lower percentage of Ca2+ concentration (0.1 – 0.3%) to form gels.

Modified citrus pectin


It is also known as MCP, which is a more digestible form of pectin. Citrus pectin with a low molecular weight is obtained by hydrolyzing natural pectin to a low esterification degree. Cancer cell growth may be suppressed by MCP.

How is pectin made of?


Pectin can be separated from cellulose, starch, proteins, colors, and other components by decomposing the protopectin, pectinic acids, and pectinates into water-soluble pectin.

Acid extraction

The extraction of pectin is accomplished by acidic, enzymatic, or microbiological processes. Commonly used is the acid extraction method.

In order to obtain crude pectin by ethanol precipitation or metal salt precipitation, mineral acids (such as hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid) or organic acids (e.g. citric acid) are pectin is hydrolyzed to create water-soluble pectin.

Ethanol precipitation


There is ethanol precipitation due to the insoluble nature of pectin in isopropyl alcohol, ethanol, and other organic solvents. Afterwards, the sugar is usually dried, milled, and standardized.

Enzymatic processing


The hydrolysis of pectin is often facilitated by enzymes like pectin lyase, polygalacturonase, and esterases, among others.





Pectin dissolves in hot water. Solubility depends on polymerization degree and methoxy group content & distribution.

A similar process occurs with pectin particles, which first swell and then dissolve. Dispersing particles in water without separating them evenly causes lumps. The mixture should be pre-blended with sugar and other ingredients, then dissolved slowly in hot water (85 – 90°C) using a suitable high-speed stirring device.



The use of pectin as a thickener in food applications is possible, but the viscosity of pectin is lower than that of other thickening agents. Molecular weight, molecular composition, and DE influence its viscosity.

What’re the application of pectin?


As well as being used in jams, jellies, and fruit juices, pectin is also used in desserts, baking, candy, and dairy products as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier. Additionally, it is a good source of fiber. Production in the world has reached 60,000 tons, but it is still in short supply.

In addition to pectin, gelatine, locust bean gum, modified food starch, agar agar, guar gum, gum arabic, and agar agar can also be used as thickeners in food.



Pectin is widely used in jams, jellies, and marmalades, which are fruit preserves.

Pectin is traditionally used in fruit jam products to improve delicateness, reduce cooking time, provide good fluidity, improve texture and color, and extend shelf life. It is recommended to use between 0.2-0.3%.

A variety of fruit jam products can be made with pectin, including:

  • Plum jam
  • Raspberry jam
  • Peach jam
  • Strawberry jam
  • Orange marmalade
  • Blackberry jam
  • Apricot jam
  • Blueberry jam
  • Rhubarb jam
  • Apricot jam
  • Tomato jam
  • Grape jam
  • Mango jam
  • Cranberry jam



In addition to improving texture and flavor, it reduces syneresis, so jelly tastes smooth and soft.

Fruit juice and drink


Fruit juice and fruit beverages contain pectin to improve mouthfeel, release flavour, stabilize other ingredients, and provide viscosity. In addition, it is a soluble fiber.

Ice cream


Emulsifies and stabilizes the finished product, giving it a delicate and smooth taste. 0.1%-0.2% is the recommended use level.

Candy & Gummies


A high-grade candy or gummy can be made with pectin as a gelling agent. As well as being transparent, it has an elastic texture, an excellent flavor, and it is non-stick to teeth, along with being low in calories. It is recommended to use between 1.5% and 2.5%.

Furthermore, it avoids a low melting temperature that occurs with only gelatine, thereby improving confectionery stability.



By providing a creamy and thick taste, it enhances the taste and prolongs shelf life, while stabilizing the emulsion.

Health Benefits

The FDA defines pectin, along with cellulose, guar gum, locust bean gum, and other three ingredients, as dietary fiber, which benefits our health in the following ways:
  • Increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy cholesterol level
  • Get rid of constipation
  • Reduced energy intake due to increased satiety

Is pectin safe to eat for body?


There are almost no side effects, and it is approved for use by the FDA, EFSA, ‘Food Additives’ expert committee of the World Health Organization (WHO).



After studying genotoxicity, chronic toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and others, EFSA concluded that there was no need to establish an ADI and no safety concern for pectin (E440i) and amidated pectin (E440ii).



The use of pectin as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener in food is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).


Classification: Gelling agent, thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier.

Since 1981, ADI has been set as “not specific.”.

How much pectin to use?


The simple answer is, one package per quart of fruit juice. The more complicated answer is that the amount of pectin will vary depending on how acidic your fruits and juices are. If you’re using a very acidic juice, you’ll need less pectin. If you’re using a very non-acidic juice, you’ll need more pectin.

I use Ball’s Pomona Pectin in my recipes because it’s easy to find in most grocery stores, but no matter which brand of pectin you choose, follow these guidelines:

If your fruit mixture has an acid/sugar balance of less than 2% (for example, if it contains 4 pounds of sugar and 2 pounds of raspberries), use 1 package of dry pectin per 1 batch (2 quarts) of juice or puree.

If your fruit mixture has an acid/sugar balance between 2% and 6%, use 3/4 package dry pectin per 1 batch (2 quarts) of juice or puree.

If your fruit mixture has an acid/sugar balance above 6%, use 1 1/4 packages dry pectin per 1 batch (2 quarts)

How much pectin to use in jam?


The amount of pectin to use in jam depends on the type of fruit and the type of jam you are making.

For example, with strawberries, you can use 1 teaspoon of powdered pectin per cup of mashed berries. For grape jam, you should use 1 tablespoon per cup of crushed grapes. However, if you are using a naturally low-pectin fruit like apples or rhubarb, you may need more pectin to make your jam set properly.

If your recipe calls for 3 cups of mashed bananas, for example, and you want it to set up as a soft-set consistency (like commercial jellies), add 2 tablespoons powdered pectin to each batch. If you want it to set up as a firm jelly consistency (like commercial jams), add 4 tablespoons powdered pectin per batch instead. You can also increase or decrease the amount of sugar in your recipe as needed to get the desired consistency of your homemade jams and jellies.

What is pectin good for?


While pectin is often used as a thickener for jams and jellies, it’s also beneficial for your digestion. Pectin can help reduce cholesterol levels by binding bile acids that would normally be excreted into the digestive tract. This helps lower total blood cholesterol levels by decreasing their reabsorption back into the bloodstream.

Pectin may also help lower blood pressure because it binds with bile acids in the intestine.

In addition to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, pectin has been shown to prevent constipation by helping move waste through the colon.

Where is pectin found?


Pectin is a long-chain polysaccharide naturally found in fruits and vegetable. It’s a type of soluble fiber that can be extracted from plants, though it’s most commonly found in apples, citrus fruits and berries. The primary function of pectin is to thicken mixtures as they cook, but it has other uses as well.

Where to buy pectin?


Pectin is a plant-based product that is used for making jams and jellies. It’s also used in food products like fruit preserves, pie fillings and salad dressings. Pectin comes from the pith (the white part in the center of citrus fruits) or from apples.

Pectin can be found in most grocery stores. It’s usually located with the Jell-O mix and other baking ingredients in your store’s baking aisle. You can also purchase pectin online at sites like Amazon or Walmart.

Frequently asked questions


What contains pectin?


Pectin is found in many fruits, including apples, strawberries, and citrus fruits.

Is pectin halal?


Yes, pectin is a halal product. Pectin is a carbohydrate found in many fruits and vegetables. It’s used as a thickener or gelling agent in foods like jams and jellies. It’s also used as an emulsifier or stabilizer in some foods like ice cream.

Is pectin gluten free?


Yes, pectin is gluten free. Pectin is a type of fiber that is found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. It’s used as a thickener or gelling agent in many foods, including jams and jellies.

Is pectin vegan?


Yes, pectin is vegan. Pectin is a substance that comes from plants, and it’s used to thicken jams and jellies. It’s commonly made from apples, but it can also be extracted from citrus fruits and berries.

What is the difference between liquid and dry pectin when making jam?


Making jam with liquid and dry pectin is the perfect way to make sure your jam is perfect every time. You can make jam with liquid and dry pectin by following these steps:

1.    Put the sugar, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

2.    Stir in the raspberries until they’re well mixed in then bring back to a boil.

3.    Cook for about 10 minutes or until the jam thickens and reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

4.    Remove from heat and stir in the pectin powder until it’s dissolved completely then let cool completely before transferring to jars and storing in the fridge!



Pectin is an excellent, natural and biocompatible product. Also, it is safe to use in the majority of people with a healthy digestive tract. It is very effective for supporting proper digestion, helping balance the gut microbiome, and improving skin health. Pectin can be used as a natural remedy for encouraging regular bowel movements. It also contributes to good digestive by increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut.

If you have any questions about pectin additive, feel free to contact us in the comments.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng is the author of gradechemical.com, she is the co-founder of the grade chemical network. She has been in grade chemical company since 2017, with a working knowledge of food chemical .

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