A versatile hydrocolloid with many application possibilities
About Guar Gum
Guar gum is obtained from the seeds of the guar bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). This plant mainly thrives in sandy soils of desert-like regions in North India (Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana) but is also cultivated for commercial purposes in places like Pakistan.
Despite being a relatively undemanding plant, it relies on the vital monsoon rains on the Indian subcontinent until the harvest begins in October. The value chain from the field to the production of guar gum is thus characterized by significant price fluctuations in the market, which can occur during a season due to rapidly changing supply and demand dynamics.
In a multi-stage mechanical and thermal processing, the nutritive tissue around the sprout of the guar bean is separated, and the so-called "guar splits," the raw material for guar gum production, are pulverized.
Guar gum is available not only in the usual conventional form but also as an organic product.
Properties of Guar Gum
Guar gum exhibits a strong swelling behavior and forms viscous solutions even in small quantities. It also optimizes the gelling properties of other thickeners such as carrageenan or agar-agar.
Guar gum solutions are thixotropic. This means that the viscosity of a guar gum suspension decreases under the influence of shear forces. This phenomenon is referred to as thixotropy, shear thinning, pseudoplasticity, or structural viscosity. Structurally viscous materials become thinner under the influence of shear forces (e.g., shaking, stirring). However, once the shear forces diminish, the viscosity of the product increases again. When combined with xanthan, this effect can be further enhanced.
- is a natural thickening agent.
- has high viscosity, typically 3500cps and 5000cps, but with special product variants, values up to 8000cps are possible.
- is easily soluble in both hot and cold water.
- has excellent water-binding abilities.
- possesses good film-forming properties.
- remains stable in solutions over a wide range of pH values between 5 and 7 (acid-resistant).
- shows resistance to oils, fats, and solvents.
- functions well at low temperatures.
- is compatible with many other hydrocolloids used in food formulations.
- acts as an effective binding adhesive.
- works well as an ice crystal inhibitor.
- additionally, it is texture-modifying, flocculating, and friction-reducing.
- can form pseudoplastic gels in combination with xanthan.
Application of Guar Gum
The produced guar gum is primarily used for applications in the food/feed sector, but it also finds applications in cosmetics, home care and personal care products, as well as in various technical fields such as oil/gas drilling, mining, or the textile industry.
In the EU, guar gum is approved as E412 for almost all food categories without maximum quantity restrictions.
Thanks to its properties, guar gum offers a variety of functionalities in different applications, as illustrated by the following examples of selected applications in the food/feed sector:
- Ice Cream/Dairy Products
➔ Provides a smooth and creamier texture, controls the growth of ice crystals.
- Bakery Products
➔ Improves texture, crumb, and structure, extends shelf life, and enhances moisture retention.
➔ Improves moisture retention, texture, and machinability.
- Pet Food
➔ Acts as a viscosity regulator, increases gelling capacity.
➔ Improves texture and taste, and acts as a stabilizer.
➔ Controls viscosity, enhances body and mouthfeel, and optimizes shelf life.
➔ Optimizes or increases thickening and acts as a stabilizer.
➔ Used as a binder in sausages, absorbs free water.
➔ Used as a thickening agent and emulsion stabilizer, improving flow properties.
Did you know?
In gel capsules, E412 is also used as a laxative and is sometimes even prescribed to alleviate symptoms of the inflammatory bowel disease Crohn's disease.
Typical dosages of Guar Gum:
- Bakery Products and Mixes: approximately 0.35 %
- Breakfast Cereals: approximately 1.2 %
- Cheese: approximately 0.8 %
- Processed Cheese: approximately 0.14 %
- Analogues for Dairy Products: approximately 1.0 %
- Fats and Oils: approximately 2.0 %
- Jams and Jellies: approximately 1.0 %
- Dairy Products: approximately 0.6 %
- Processed Vegetables and Vegetable Juices: approximately 2.0 %
- Soups and Soup Mixes: approximately 0.8 %
- Ice Cream: approximately 0.1 - 0.3 %
- Sweet Sauces, Toppings, and Syrups: approximately 1.0 %
- All other foods: approximately 0.5 %
As a relatively cost-effective hydrocolloid, guar gum, with its versatile functional properties, offers a wide range of application possibilities.
If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Head of BU Life Science
Phone: +49 40 300 501 8141