Web Report
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Group 1-04
Project Title Extraction of Pectin from Butternut Squash and evaluating its potential as Pb2+ chelator
Synopsis Lead poisoning is a pervasive problem that many countries, including first-world ones such as the United States of America, is facing today. Current treatments of lead poisoning include chelation therapy, which uses Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) to bind to the heavy metal ions. However, EDTA is synthesized from various toxic chemicals including Sodium Cyanide. EDTA chelation therapy has many dangerous side effects including thrombosis and arrhythmia. Hence, this study aims to find a more novel alternative to treat lead poisoning without the downsides of EDTA therapy. Pectin has been used widely in many industries such as the food industry, and is usually extracted from the peels of citrus fruits. In this study, we chose the Cucurbita Moschita, commonly known as the butternut squash, as the medium of extraction. From our studies, we realised little research has been conducted on the Cucurbita Moschita, despite its great potential. In our study, we compared the effectiveness of the type of acid (Tartaric [Organic acid] compared to Hydrochloric [Inorganic acid]) on pectin yield. The type of skin, namely the inner (first layer of peel) and the outer (second layer of skin), was also varied to identify the more effective of the two. The type of dispersion method, sonication and mechanical stirring, applied by the sonicator and hot plate respectively, was varied to determine their effect on the final yield of pectin. The combination of tartaric acid, inner skin and sonication yielded the most pectin. We confirmed the successful extraction of pectin by characterisation through FTIR. The pectin extracted from the inner layer of the butternut squash peel using tartaric acid was able to chelate slightly more than 69% of lead(II) ions, more than triple that of commercial pectin which chelated around 22%.
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Team Members
(Names & Classes)
Group Leader: OOI WEI CHERN 2I3