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Videos in the Basics of Food Gums Series


In this episode, we’ll be looking at the category of Food Gums known as Fermentation Gums. In our first video, we provided a little background on food gums as a whole. If you’d like to watch that video for a quick introduction, click the link in this video or in the description below to check it out.

Fermentation gums is a category that doesn’t get a lot of attention but the uses of these gums are quite extensive. The two most popular gums from this category are Xanthan gum and Gellan gum. These gums are derived from the coatings of naturally occurring bacteria. When these bacteria are exposed to a controlled fermentation bath, they excrete a coating that is then sterilized, separated and milled. The uses for this gum are many; the most common being in dressings, sauces and beverages. The superior stabilizing attributes of these gums makes them not only a highly desired food additive but a widely used one as well.

download the xanthan origin infographic

The use of Gellan gum has grown in popularity due to its beneficial suspension, texture and gelling attributes. Gellan also fits the growing trend of clean label ingredients because of its favorable perception among manufacturers and consumers.  Not only that but Gellan works at low usage rates, and in a variety of applications from liquids to gels providing desirable stability and mouthfeel. In addition, it can be used together with other gums to provide complementary benefits.

Out of these different fermentation gums, there’s one that you’re more likely to hear about and that’s Xanthan. Xanthan is derived from the naturally occurring bacteria Xanthomonas and is widely used in the food industry for its incredible ability to provide both texture and stabilization. You’re likely to find it on labels for products like sauces, dressings, beverages, and even gluten-free bread. Xanthan was discovered in the 1960’s as scientists were attempting to create new food gums for commercial purposes. After its introduction to the food industry in the early 1970’s, Xanthan became a point of incredible interest for scientists and product developers and is widely used to this day.

Common food gums chart

So you might ask: “why is there xanthan in my salad dressing?”  Salad dressing is one of the more popular applications of xanthan gum. We all know that traditional salad dressing tends to separate, hence why we shake the bottle before we pour. The great advantage of using Xanthan in Italian dressing for example, is its ability to keep the elements like oil, water and seasoning from separating out into those layers you commonly see. No matter how long the dressing sits, you’re going to retain a uniform mixture of ingredients when Xanthan is included in the dressing.

So to wrap up, in this episode we were able to touch on a new category of gums as well as look at the beneficial characteristics of Xanthan, one of the more widely known Fermentation Gums.

If you’d like to learn more, then check out this book by Andrew Hoefler called “Hydrocolloids”. It’s a great overview of common hydrocolloids. Also, there are some online journals you can reference for additional research. They can get technical but don’t let that stop you.

We hope you found this video helpful and perhaps presented a new perspective into the world of Food Science. Thanks for watching. 

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