Pectin is a heteropolysaccharide found in the primary cell walls of terrestrial
plants. It is found along with other cell wall polymers such as cellulose and
hemicelluloses. Its degradation is facilitated by about 15 different types of pectinases.
Here, the focus is on the basic, applied, and production aspects of pectinases.
Pectinases can be isolated from a variety of organisms such as plants, bacteria, and
fungi. Of these, fungal pectinases are routinely employed in the food-processing,
textile, and paper industries because of their higher activity, specificity, and stability
under higher temperatures and extreme pH conditions. Specifically, this review
summarizes the fungi that produce pectinases, classification and modes of action of
pectinases, the methods for partial purification and characterization of pectinases, and
applications of pectinases. In addition, optimization of physical and chemical
conditions for improving the production of fungal pectinases in solid state fermentation
is described in detail.