Biocatalysts launches fruit firming enzyme

Shaun Weston14 May 2013 (Updated 24 Jan 2014)

Many food processors or manufacturers experience the problem of soft fruit and vegetables breaking down or becoming damaged during processing.

Enzyme specialist Biocatalysts Ltd, based in South Wales, took up the challenge when a customer approached it to increase the firmness of their strawberry pieces in their yogurt following the failed tests of an alternative enzyme manufacturer.

Biocatalysts carried out various trials and finally came up with the enzyme Pectinase 872L, which works by catalysing the hydrolysis of the methyl ester bonds in pectin, releasing free carboxyl groups. These free carboxyl groups are then cross-linked with divalent ions such as calcium to form a network of pectin.

This essentially means that very soluble pectin is converted into less soluble pectin, which in turn is more likely to stay in fruit tissue during transformation processes. This ensures that the strawberries maintain their structure and form within the yogurt.

This liquid enzyme can be used for any soft fruit or vegetable that's being processed, with the aim of being made into fruit preparations, jams, yogurts, sauces etc.