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Natural gums are polysaccharides of natural origin, capable of causing a large increase the viscosity of a solution, even at small concentrations.
Natural gums are mostly botanical gums, found in the woody elements of various plants or in seed coatings, similar to resins.
They are soluble in water, but insoluble in many organic solvents.
- Agar (extracted from seaweeds)
- Gum arabic (extracted from the hardened sap of acacia tree)
- Xanthan gum (produced by bacterial fermentation)
Natural gums can be either extracted from the plants that produce them or just bought from food stores.
Natural gums are used in the food industry as thickening agents, gelling agents, emulsifying agents, and stabilizers, and in other industries as adhesives, binding agents, crystal inhibitors, clarifying agents, encapsulating agents, flocculating agents, swelling agents, foam stabilizers, etc.