Pectins are plant cell wall natural heteropolysaccharides composed mainly of α-1-4 d-galacturonic acid units, which may or may not be methyl esterified, possesses neutral sugars branching that harbor functional moieties. Physicochemical features as pH, temperature, ions concentration, and cosolute presence, affect directly the extraction yield and gelling capacity of pectins. The chemical and structural features of this polysaccharide enables its interaction with a wide range of molecules, a property that scientists profit from to form new composite matrices for target/controlled delivery of therapeutic molecules, genes or cells. Considered a prebiotic dietary fiber, pectins meetmany regulations easily, regarding health applications within the pharmaceutical industry as a raw material and as an agent for the prevention of cancer. Thus, this review lists many emergent pectin-based composite materials which will probably palliate the impact of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, aid to forestall actual epidemics, expand the ken of food additives and food products design.
Keywords: drug delivery system; pectin; pectin composites; therapeutic properties.