Onion skins are evaluated as a new raw material for the enzymatic production of pectic oligosaccharides (POS) with a targeted degree of polymerization (DP). The process is based on a two-stage process consisting of a chelator-based crude pectin extraction followed by a controlled enzymatic hydrolysis. Treatment of the extracted crude onion skin's pectin with various enzymes (EPG-M2, Viscozyme and Pectinase) shows that EPG-M2 is the most appropriate enzyme for tailored POS production. The experiments reveal that the highest amount of DP2 and DP3 is obtained at a time scale of 75-90 min with an EPG-M2 concentration of 26 IU/mL. At these conditions the production amounts 2.5-3.0% (w/w) d.m for DP2 and 5.5-5.6% (w/w) d.m for DP3 respectively. In contrast, maximum DP4 production of 5.2-5.5% (w/w) d.m. is obtained with 5.2 IU/mL at a time scale of 15-30 min. Detailed LC-MS analysis reveals the presence of more methylated oligomers compared to acetylated forms in the digests.
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