The technology to extract pectin from mango peels is being tested at a pilot scale by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) in collaboration with agribusiness companies.

DA-PhilMech Executive Director Rex L. Bingabing said the agency wants to determine the viability of the process and acceptability of the pectin products under a pilot-scale level of operation.

“After this phase, DA-PhilMech can push for the commercialization of the pectin extraction technology where mango peels are the raw materials. Over the medium to long term, this will be very helpful for the pharmaceutical and  food industries in the Philippines which still import their pectin requirements,” he said.

The local technology to extract pectin from mango peels is one of the technologies that will be exhibited during Postharvest week that will mark the founding anniversary of PhilMech. It was on May 24, 1978 that the National Postharvest Institute for Research and Extension (NAPHIRE) was founded, which evolved to Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE) in 2010 and then to PhilMech.

The pilot sites to test the locally-developed pectin extraction technology are in Cebu and Bulacan.The pilot testing in Cebu is being undertaken by DA-PhilMech in partnership with ProFoods International Corp., the biggest mango processor in the country, and Suki Trading Corporation, a manufacturer of various agricultural and food processing machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, the pilot testing in Bulacan is being undertaken by the agency with Green Ops Corp., a subsidiary of MONHEIM Group of Companies. Green Ops produces tropical fruit concentrate and juices.

The expected output of the pilot plant in Profoods is about 2 kilograms of mango pectin per batch, while Green Ops is aiming to produce a bigger output of about 8-10 kgs of mango pectin per batch.

Besides the pectin extracting technology, PhilMech is also pilot testing in Camarines Sur the coconut water extraction machine it developed, with commercial production to commence in June. The capacity of the coconut water extraction machine is 2,000 coconuts per day, which will help coconut farmers in Camarines Sur improve their incomes.

            In 2012, researchers from DA-PhilMech and the Department of Science and Technology-Industry Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) led by Dr. Ma. Cristina B. Gragasin successfully developed a processing system for the production of pharmaceutical grade pectin from mango peels. The project garnered numerous awards from various scientific fora. The utility model for the pectin production has Intellectual Property Registration No. 22013000466. 
            Pectin is a high-value product used as a gelling and thickening agent, stabilizer in cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical industries. However, the Philippines still imports all of its pectin requirements.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the country imported around 94,848.93 kilograms of pectin from various countries with a total custom value of $52.38 million or P2.2 billion in 2011 at an average landed cost of P27,000 per kilogram.

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. Mango peelings from processors and restaurants are usually thrown away or composted with other food wastes. # # # (PhilMech Communication Team)