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Natural food gums are polysaccharides of natural origin, capable of causing a large increase in a solutions viscosity, even at small Concentrations.

In the food industry they are used as thickening agents, clarifying agents, gelling agents, emulsifying agents and stabilizers.

Most often these are botanical gums, found in the woody elements of plants or in seed coatings.


Natural gums can be classified according to their origin. They can also be classified as uncharged or ionic polyme (polyelectrolyte).


1.Natural gums obtained from seaweeds



*Alginic acid(E400)and Sodium alginate(E401)

*Carrageenan ( E407)



2. Natural gums obtained from non-marine botanical resources


*Gum arabic (E414)

*Gum tragacanth (E413)

*Karaya gum(E416)



*Guar gum(E412)

*Locust bean gum(E410)

*Glucomannan( E425)

*Tara gum(E417) 



3. Natural gums produced by bacterial fermentation


*Gellan gum( E418)


Xanthan gum(E415)



4. Natural gums features

Agar (E406)

*Agar or agar-agar is a jelly-like substance, obtained from algae.

*Agar forms the supporting structure in the cell walls of certain species of algae (Gelidium amani, and which is released on boiling. These algae are known as agarophytes, and belong to the Rhodophyta (red algae)phylum. Agar is actually the resulting mixture of two components: the linear polysaccharide agarose (70%), and a heterogeneous mixture of smaller molecules called agaropectin (30%).

*Melting point 85 C

*Solidifying range 32 C- 40 C

*Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart

*Available as dried strips or in powdered form


Alginic acid (E400)& Sodium alginate(E401)

*an anionic polysaccharide distributed widely in the cell walls of brown algae, where through binding with water. It forms a viscous gum

*empirical formula is NaC6H7O6

Carrageenan ( E407)

*Carrageenans are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds

*They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties

*Their main application is in dairy and meat products, due to their strong binding to food proteins

*There are three main varieties of carrageenan, which differ in their degree of sulfation. Kappa-carrageenan has one sulfate group per disaccharide, iota-carrageenan has two, and lambda-carrageenan has three


Gum arabic(E414)

*Gum arabic, (acacia gum), is a natural gum consisting of the hardened sap of various species of the acacia tree

*gum arabic is predominantly collected from two related species, namely Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal

*Gum arabic is a complex mixture of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. It is the original source of the sugars arabinose and ribose, both of which were first discovered and isolated from it. and are named after it

*Gum arabic is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer

*It is edible 


Gum tragacanth(E413)

*Gum tragacanth is a viscous, odorless, tasteless, water soluble mixture of polysaccharides.

*Obtained from sap that is drained from the root of the plant (goats thorn and locoweed)and dried.

*used in foods as an emulsifier thickener. stabilizer. And texturant additive.


Karaya gum(E416)

*A vegetable gum produced as an exudate by trees of the genus Sterculia.

*Gum karaya is an acid polysaccharide composed of the sugars galactose, rhamnose and galacturonic acid

*It is used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods.

*Also used to adulterate Gum tragacanth due to their similar physical characteristics


Guar gum(E412)

*Guar gum is obtained from guar beans which has thickening and stabilizing properties useful in the food industry.

*The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum.

*a polysaccharide composed of the sugars galactose and mannose.

*Used in baked goods, dairy products, condiments, soups, instant oatmeal. sweet desserts etc


Locust bean gum(E410)

*a galactomannan vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the carob tree

*Used as a thickening agent and a gelling agent in food industry

*occurs as a white to yellow-white powder

*consists chiefly of high-molecular-weight polysaccharides, composed of galactose and mannose units combined through glycosidic linkages.

*The bean, when made into powder, is sweet--with a flavor similar to Chocolate.



*Glucomannan is a water-soluble polysaccharide that is considered a dietary fiber.

*The component sugars are B-(1-4)-linked D mannose and D-glucose in a ratio of 1.6: 1.

*It is a hemicellulose component in the cell walls of some plant species.

*Glucomannan is a food additive used as an emulsifier and thickener.


Tara gum(E417)

*Tara gum is a white, nearly odorless powder that is produced by separating and grinding the endosperm of T. spinosa seed.

*Tara gum consists of a linear main chain of (1-4)-B-D mannopyranose units attached by(1-6)linkages with a-D galactopyranose units.

*Used in the preparation of convenience foods, such as ice Cream.


Gellan gum(E418)

*Gellan gum is a water soluble anionic polysaccharide produced by the bacterium Sphingomonas elodea

*Consists of two residues of D-glucose and one of each residues of L-rhamnose and D-glucuronic acid.

*It is widely used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer


Xanthan gum (E415)

*It is a powerful thickening agent, and also has uses as a stabilizer to prevent ingredients from separating.

*It can be produced from a range of simple sugars (glucose, sucrose, or lactose)using a fermentation process.

*Xanthan gum derives its name from the strain of bacteria used during the fermentation process, Xanthomonas campestris.

*used in salad dressings and sauces, ice creams etc



*Examination of the most common gum additives in food today indicates that in

general they are safe for occasional consumption by healthy persons with normal gut function.

*The exceptions to this are xanthan gum, which infants should not consume,The worst of the lot is cellulose gum. It is best avoided by everyone as it is a chemically treated, ultra cheap, industrialized product.

*Guar gum, tara gum, gellen gum, and locust bean(carob) gum are all safe in small amounts. Tara gum has a perfect safety record in the research so far, although these results are only in animal studies.

Food gums not only originate from land, but also water! Some food gums are produced from seaweed- thanks for reading this article and hope you learned more about the wonderful world of food gums.


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