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Food Gums Introduction

Author£ºADMIN Source£ºCAIXIN SUGAR Date£º2014-04-23 11:25:35

Gellan Gum - a food gum that is primarily used as a gelling or thickening agent.  It can be used in fortified beverages to suspend protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber and pulp. Gellan gum also suspends milk solids in diluted milk drinks.  Gellan gum can act as a fluid gel, having a wide range of textures, and can exist as a light pourable gel or a thick, spreadable paste. Gellan gum is a non-animal gel source which is suitable for vegetarians and people with religious dietary restrictions (Kosher/Halal).

Agar-agar - a gum consisting of two repeating units of polysaccharides: alpha-D-galactopyranosyl and 3,6-anhydro-alpha-L-glactopyranosyl derived from red seaweed.  Traditional agar-agar can bind approximately 100 times its weight in water when boiled, forming a strong gel that is often used as a stabilizer or thickener.  A recent application of agar-agar is replacing gelatin as the gelling agent in dairy products, such as yogurt. Agar-agar is a non-animal gel source which is suitable for vegetarians and people with religious dietary restrictions (Kosher/Halal).

Alginate - is a polysaccharide, like starch and cellulose, and is derived from brown seaweed.  Alginate provides properties in processed foods and beverages such as gelling, viscosifying, suspending and stabilizing.  Alginate gelling may be achieved using calcium under controlled conditions.  It employs the combination of alginate, a slowly soluble calcium salt and a suitable calcium sequestrant, such as a phosphate or citrate.  The process may be performed at neutral or acid pH.  

Carrageenan - a water soluble gum derived from red seaweeds, such as Eucheuma, Gigartina, and Chondrus.  Carrageenan is a sulfated linear polysaccharide of D-galactose and it has a strong negative charge, thereby allowing it to stabilize gels or act as a thickener.  Carrageenan is found in numerous products, ranging from toothpaste to soy milk.  It is used to suspend cocoa solids in beverages, for example, and can be used in meats to reduce cooking losses.

Cassia Gum – is a naturally occurring galactomannan found in the endosperm of cassia tora and obtusifolia seeds. It is an effective thickener and stabilizer for a broad range of food applications. Cassia gum has excellent retort stability and forms strong synergistic gels with other hydrocolloids including carrageenan and xanthan gum. Human food grade cassia gum is specially processed to meet rigorous purity standards.

Cellulose Gum – Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC), or cellulose gum is an abundant and natural polysaccharide found in all plants.  Cellulose gum is a water-soluble gum that is based on cellulose.  Cellulose gum has been used in food products for over 50 years as a thickener and stabilizer.  Typical uses are in instant beverages, where it provides texture, baked goods, where it prevents staling, and ice-cream, where it prevents the formation of ice-crystals that can be formed from frequent freezing and re-thawing. 

Guar Gum - a carbohydrate consisting of mannose and galactose at a 2:1 ratio that can swell in cold water.  Guar gum is one of the most highly efficient water-thickening agents available to the food industry and is widely used as a binder and volume enhancer.  Its high percentage of soluble dietary fiber (80 to 85%), means that it is often added to bread to increase its soluble dietary fiber content.  Guar gum is also commonly used to thicken and stabilize salad dressings and sauces and help improve moisture retention in finished baked goods. 

Hydroxypropyl cellulose - cellulose is an abundant and natural polysaccharide found in all plants.  Hydroxypropyl cellulose is based on cellulose and is used in many food products to provide good foam stability.  Hydroxypropyl cellulose is commonly found in whipped toppings where it stabilizes the foam and provides a long lasting whipped topping with dairy-like eating quality.

Konjac Gum- a polysaccharide from a plant known as elephant yam, which is commonly found in Asia.  This gum can be used as a vegan substitute for gelatin and other thickeners.  Its texture makes it ideal for jellies because of its high viscosity. 

Locust Bean Gum - also called Carob bean gum, locust bean gum is derived from the seeds of the carob bean. Locust bean gum is used for thickening, water-binding, and gel strengthening in a variety of foods. It has synergistic interactions with other gums, such as xanthan or carrageenan, and can be used in applications such as dairy, processed cream cheese, and dessert gels.

Methylcellulose and Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose – cellulose is an abundant and natural polysaccharide found in all plants.  Methylcellulose and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose are based on cellulose and are used in many food products to provide texture, certain mouth feels and other desirable qualities.  These gums are commonly found in soy burgers where they add meat-like texture to the vegetable proteins, in fried appetizers like mozzarella cheese sticks and onion rings where they create firm texture by reducing the uptake of frying oils, and in whipped toppings where they stabilize the foam structure to give long lasting creams. 

Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) - is a polysaccharide derived from naturally occurring cellulose similar to that found in fruits and vegetables. MCC can be used as a bulking agent, source of fiber and moisture regulator in processed foods.  MCC may also be co-processed with carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) to impart shear-thinning and heat stable properties.  Additional properties in food and beverages from MCC/CMC co-processed products include gelling, viscosifying, suspending and stabilizing.

Pectin - a polysaccharide derived from plant material, mainly citrus fruit peels, apple peels, or sugar beets. Pectin is widely used to impart gel formation, thickening, and physical stability to a wide range of foods. It is mostly used in fruit-based products, including jams, jellies, confectioneries, and fruit drinks, but is also used in dairy applications such as drinking and spoonable yogurt.

Xanthan Gum - a highly branched polysaccharide of D-glucose, D-mannose, and D-glucuronic acid produced via bacterial fermentation using nutrient sources.  .  Xanthan gum, which is considered natural, is an excellent emulsion stabilizer in salad dressings and sauces and also is used in bakery fillings to prevent water migration from the filling to the pastry (which has strong water-binding properties).  Xanthan gum can often be used to improve the shelf life of a product.

Food gums have an ability to stabilize liquids, thereby allowing other ingredients to be dispersed and suspended in the solution.  Food gums can also be used as an emulsifier, which means they disperse fat to allow it to become more water-soluble. 

Food gums perform numerous functions in foods and have little or no flavor, so their use does not change the taste of the food to which it is added.  Additionally, gums are a good source of dietary fiber and can be used in reduced calorie foods to replace fat.  The majority of food gums are considered natural and many also are approved for use in “organic” and “made with organic” foods and beverages.  Food gums are often used in gluten-free foods, since people who cannot tolerate gluten can generally tolerate food gums.  Food gums are non-allergenic and non-toxic.

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