Too bad for the compost - pea shells contain valuable pectins and fibers
Pectins are widely used as natural ingredients in food processing. They serve as thickening and gelling agents, for example for the production of jellies and yoghurts, reports the consumer information service aid. Given the high demand for pectins, alternative production methods are in demand. Researchers at the TU Berlin have now focused on pectins from pea shells, according to aid.
According to the consumer information service aid, pectins are important ingredients in food processing, as well as in the pharmaceutical industry and in the manufacture of cosmetics. They are obtained, for example, from apple pomace or citrus peel, where they are found in the cell walls, among other things. "With such large quantities, which are required in various areas of processing, it is worth researching even with known methods - always looking for the most economical variant," emphasizes the consumer information service.
New ways of obtaining pectin
The scientists at the TU Berlin concentrated their research on new ways of obtaining pectin on the shells of peas, which are normally regarded as "green waste". The stable and tough shell of the peas not only contains valuable fibers, but consists of 16 percent pectin, according to the aid agency. In addition, the shells are rather dry compared to pomace and therefore allow energy-saving extraction of the valuable ingredients. In view of the increasing global demand for pectin, the research carried out by the TU researchers was named "Project of the Month" by the "Research Group of the Food Industry (FEI)", reports the consumer information service.
50,000 tons of pectins are extracted annually
According to the aid, around 50,000 tonnes of pectin are currently extracted worldwide every year, and the trend is rising. Here it only seems logical to use the pea shells instead of disposing of them on the compost. The studies at the TU are a project of industrial collaborative research, which should primarily benefit medium-sized companies, which in turn have no capacity for larger and lengthy studies. "The research results and benefits of the pea shell pectins, which come from local cultivation and are also low-allergenic, are made available to the companies in test preparations in a practical manner," reports the aid. The consumer information service assumes that companies are convinced of the process "if both the pectin yield and the quality are right." In addition, consumers should be happy, even if they have no idea what peas should have to do with jam, the aid concludes. (fp)