noun, plural: pectinases
Any enzyme that breaks down pectin, a polysaccharide substrate found in the cell wall of plants, into simple sugars and galacturonic acid.
It is commonly used in fruit industry that involves degradation of plant materials to speed up extraction of juices from fruits. Pectinases are also used for retting. Addition of chelating agents or pretreatment of the plant material with acid enhances the effect of the enzyme.
Pectinases can be derived from other organisms such as fungi (e.g. Aspergillus niger).
See also: pectin.