Pectin Structure Functions Based on Ionic Interactions in Plant Based Food Systems
Foods are multicomponent systems in which interactions between components are very likely to occur. Amongst all food systems, given their interesting nutritional profile, their low carbon footprint, etc. , the consumption of plant-based food systems is increasingly advised. Pectin is an important component in such systems and interacts with other food components such as metal ions. These interactions do not only impact the rheological properties and (detrimental) quality changes of the food, but might also affect the bio-accessibility of micronutrients such as minerals. The interactions of such components with pectin is largely influenced by pectin nanostructure, which can be easily and safely be modified by food processing. The general objective of this project is to understand how pectin nanostructure influences pectin interactions with other food constituents (in this context, metal ions) and how such interactions determine pectin functionalities and food (nutritional) quality. This research will contribute to in situ creation of specific pectin nanostructures by using processing techniques inducing endogenous chemical and enzymatic conversions of pectin in plant-based food systems.