The discovery of pectin.


“Any of the acidic hemicelluloses that occur in ripe fruit and vegetables: used in the manufacture of jams because of their ability to solidify to a gel when heated in a sugar solution.”[1]


The French chemist and pharmacist Henri Braconnot discovered pectin in 1824. He describes the isolation process in an 1824 article[2]:

  • The fruit or vegetable is first reduced to a pulp in order to extract the juice.
  • The pulp is then boiled in dilute hydrochloric acid.
  • It is then washed and heated with a solution of potassium hydroxide.
  • A thick and sticky solution is then formed.
  • Upon addition of alcohol to the solution, a white jelly-like substance precipitates.

Here is a portrait[3] of Henri Braconnot:

[ux_image_box img=”1039″ image_width=”40″ link=”″ target=”_blank”]



  2., pages 173-178.
  3. kw2657634

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