Citrus pectin with a low degree of methyl esterification (LMP) and its deesterified form, potassium pectate (KP), were modified with a low amount of UV-absorbing substituents. For this purpose, two different substitution reactions were used (a) alkylation of hydroxyl groups with p-carboxybenzyl bromide in aqueous alkali and (b) alkylation of the carboxylate group with benzyl bromide in the DMSO/TBAI/catalyst system. Chemical and spectroscopic methods reveal a low degree of substitution (DS<0.1) for the derivatives. The hydrodynamic properties were assessed by analytical ultracentrifugion, viscometry, and HPGPC. The results indicate that the introduction of small amounts of p-carboxybenzyl ether groups practically had no effect on the hydrodynamic properties in the case of KP, whereas, it was accompanied with a decrease of the molecular mass for LMP. The degradation was more pronounced during the benzyl esterification of LMP. The results confirmed that LMP is susceptible to chain cleavage due to β-elimination during both modification reactions. However, KP seems to be more tolerant of the reaction conditions.