Xanthan Gum is a common food ingredient that is being used in many different types of food products. It is a versatile ingredient used in many industries, from food and beverage to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Its unique properties make it ideal for thickening, stabilizing and suspending a wide range of products. But what exactly is xanthan gum, and how is it manufactured? In this blog post, we will explore the xanthan gum manufacturing process and what goes into making this amazing ingredient.
What is Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan gum is a natural, sugar-like carbohydrate derived from the fermentation of glucose. It is commonly used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in the food industry. It is also used to improve the texture, consistency, and shelf life of certain products. Xanthan gum is created when a bacterial strain, often Xanthomonas Campestris, is allowed to ferment a sugar-containing solution.
How is Xanthan Gum Manufactured?
The journey of xanthan gum begins with Xanthomonas campestris, a group of bacteria that diligently work during the fermentation process. In this step, these microscopic organisms are provided with a mixture of sugars to consume and transform into the valuable substance known as xanthan gum.
During fermentation, bacteria produce a complex molecule known as a polysaccharide. It is simply a string of interconnected sugar molecules. One specific type of this fascinating polysaccharide is the xanthan gum molecule.
Xanthan Gum Manufacturing Steps
Image Source: Science Direct
To start the process, a large number of Xanthomonas campestris bacteria need to be grown. These remarkable bacteria play a superhero’s role in creating xanthan gum. They are carefully cultivated in a specialized nutrient-rich broth where they multiply and thrive.
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Once the bacteria are well-fed and multiplying, they kickstart the fermentation process. This is when these microscopic chefs feast on the sugars in the broth, transforming it into a delectable creation called xanthan gum.
After the fermentation process is complete, a mixture comprising xanthan gum and bacteria is obtained. The mixture undergoes a series of steps to effectively separate the xanthan gum from the bacteria.
The xanthan gum, after being separated, still contains impurities that require a purification process. This process includes washing and treating the gum to ensure maximum cleanliness.
During this stage, the xanthan gum retains a slightly sticky consistency due to its previous manufacturing processes. To transform it into the recognizable powder form found in various products, it undergoes a drying process.
6. Milling and Packing
The produced xanthan gum goes through rigorous quality control checks for consistency and quality. Factors such as viscosity, pH, moisture, and pyruvic content are measured to ensure the xanthan gum meets industry-specific standards. Once the quality checks are passed, the xanthan gum gets packaged and distributed.
Related: What is Gellan Gum? Uses
Uses of Xanthan Gum
There are many ways that xanthan gum is used in food products.
The most common application of Xanthan gum is as a food additive, where it is used to create a smoother texture and enhance shelf life. It is often used as a thickening agent in baked goods, salad dressings, sauces, and condiments.
Stabilizer and Emulsifier
Xanthan gum is also used to improve the texture of foods. It is used as an emulsifier and stabilizer in dressings and sauces, and to help create a more consistent texture in baked goods.
We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of what xanthan gum is, and how it’s made. It can be used in a variety of food products, and it has many uses outside of the culinary world as well. We’re sure that you will find this information useful when cooking or baking.