Acacia Gum – Emulsifying Agent & Food Ingredient

What is Acacia Gum?

Acacia gum is a brittle, odorless and generally tasteless material that contains a number of neutral sugars, acids, calcium and other electrolytes. It is naturally occurring Gum which is functions as emulsifying Agent helps in stabilization of Fat & Water Interfaces.

Due to its emulsifying capability, it stabilizes a food system efficiently, resulting in superior texture and a good mouthfeel. It is used as an Emulsifier, Thickening agent and flavour stabilizer.

Chemistry of Acacia Gum – Details

Scientific Name(s): Acacia Senegal . The main component of the gum is arabin, the calcium salt of the polysaccharide arabic acid.

It is very soluble in water, but does not dissolve in alcohol.

The structure of the gum is complex and has not yet been fully explained. A comprehensive analysis, including NMR spectra for 35 samples of gum arabic, has been published to serve as the basis for international standardization of acacia gum.

Acacia Gum Structural Formula
Acacia Gum Structural Formula

The gum is built upon a backbone of D-galactose units with side chains of D-glucuronic acid with L-rhamnose or L-arabinose terminal units. The molecular weight of the gum is large and estimates suggest the weight lies in the range of 200,000 to 600,000 daltons.

History and Origin of Acacia Gum

It has a long history in civilizations as ancient as the Egyptians and the aboriginal tribes of Australia. These kingdoms and tribes used acacia in surprisingly diverse ways, from making desserts to treating hemorrhoids.

The first species ever discovered was given the name Acacia nilotica by the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus in the 1700s, and since then, nearly 1,000 species have been added to the Acacia genus.

Sudan is the world′s largest producer, followed by many other African countries. It readily dissolves in water to form solutions characterized by low viscosity. This allows its use in various applications.

Gum Arabic was evaluated for acceptable daily intake for man by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives since 1969; however, Sudanese people in Western Sudan had been using it for long time without limitations.

It is indigestible to both humans and animals, not degraded in the intestine, but fermented in the colon to give short-chain fatty acids, leading to a large range of possible health benefits.

Commercial use of gum arabic can be traced back to around the year 2000 bc, when the Egyptians used it in foods, adhesives, colours and paint industries.

The term `gum arabic’ was coined by European traders, who imported the products from Arabian ports such as Jeddah and Alexandria, and most gum traders of the time were associated with Arab countries.

The trade was routed along the Nile from Sudan to Alexandria and later in 1906 to Suez on the Red Sea when the railway was constructed to link Port Sudan to Khartoum.

The main ports of disembarkation were Trieste in Italy and Marseilles in France, from where the gum arabic was distributed to the rest of Europe.

No Commercial Production of Acacia Gum it is naturally occurring and extracted from tree species.

Use and Application of Acacia Gum in Food

Acacia gum has been used in pharmaceuticals as a demulcent.

It is used topically for healing wounds and has been shown to inhibit the growth of periodontic bacteria and the early deposition of plaque.

Acacia gum is a unique gum due to its emulsifying properties.

Due to its emulsifying capability, it stabilizes a food system efficiently, resulting in superior texture and a good mouthfeel.

In baked products, it is typically used in fillings or frosting due to its ability to emulsify the fat/water interfaces.

It is traditionally used on gingerbread products to give a glossy and tacky shine.

Dosing of Acacia Gum – Gum acacia is usually used to modify the physical properties of foods. It was used in a clinical study of cholesterol reduction at a dose of 15 g per day.

Advantages of Acacia Gum

Acacia gum has a naturally sticky texture. Materials with this property are often used to reduce irritation and inflammation. The gum has been shown to be especially effective in easing stomach or throat discomfort.

Acacia is often used in topical treatments to help wounds heal. Doctors, scientists, and researchers believe that this effect may be due to some of its chemicals, such as alkaloids, glycosides, and flavonoids.

The extract of a species of acacia known as Acacia catechu, sometimes called black khair, can be used in dental products like mouthwash to prevent gingivitis. It is also used in Herbal Toothpastes.

Acacia gum has the potential to keep your weight in a healthy range while also reducing your overall body fat. In a study involving 120 women, 60 women took 30 grams per day of acacia gum for six weeks, while the other 60 took a placebo containing just 1 gram of pectin. Results showed that women who took the acacia gum reduced their body mass index. Their body fat percentage was also reduced by over 2 percent.

Disadvantages of Acacia Gum

Acacia is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food.

Ingestion may raise serum cholesterol. Various forms of acacia gum can cause allergic reactions, including respiratory problems and skin lesions.

Some forms of acacia contain toxic chemicals that could cause hair loss, affect your digestive tract’s ability to take in nutrients, and stunt growth. Do not consume a form of acacia that you’re not familiar with.

FDA Regulation:

Gum acacia is usually used to modify the physical properties of foods. It was used in a clinical study of cholesterol reduction at a dose of 15 g per day but it’s dosage is not FDA Approved.

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