Pectin from mango peels research wins BAR award

A research jointly conducted by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on the production of pharmaceutical grade pectin from mango topped the paper and poster categories of the recently concluded 24th National Research Symposium of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

PhilMech and BAR are agencies under the Department of Agriculture. It was the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of the DOST that jointly undertook the research with PhilMech.

The research paper entitled “Utilization of Mango Peels as Source of Pectin” bested the seven pre-selected research papers under the Applied Research (Technology Generation-Technology Information)-Agriculture Category and posters that joined the yearly research competition of the BAR.

The event carried the theme “Responsive R&D Excellence towards Food Security and Growth in Agriculture and Fisheries.” It was held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Building, Quezon City last October.

The winning research team was composed of Dr. Cristina B. Gragasin and Engr. Aileen R. Ligisan of PhilMech and Dr. Rosalinda C. Torres and Romulo R. Estrella of ITDI. The group received a trophy and P100,000 cash award for the Best Paper Presentation, and P50,000.00 for the Best Poster Award.

The finalists were evaluated based on the scientific significance, expected impact, manuscript quality, and presentation quality. Papers must get a score of at least 85% during the symposium proper in order to win the award. A total of 140 research papers joined the pre-symposium evaluation and only the papers that garnered 80% qualified for the finals.

Based on the findings of the research, five kilograms of Philippine Carabao mango peels can be used as raw material to come up with a kilogram of pectin. The pectin extracted from mango also conformed to United States Pharmacopeia (USP) specifications.

The cost of imported pectin is estimated at around P27,000 per kilogram. Laboratory scale production of pectin from mango peels cost only about P6,000 per kilogram.

Pectin is a group of carbohydrates and used as a stabilizer, and gelling and thickening agent by the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
The quality of the pectin produced from mango peels, according to the research, is comparable to pectin made from apple pomace. Another popular raw material for the manufacture of pectin is citrus peelings.

Mango presents a better opportunity for the Philippines to produce pectin since the country’s mango farms has an output of around 884,000 metric tons per year.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, in 2011 the country imported about 94,848 kilograms of pectin, valued at $52.38 million.

Dr. Gragasin said that production of pharmaceutical pectin from mango peels is both technically and economically feasible and a promising venture.

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