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What is gum arabic ?

Gum rabic (also known as E414, acacia gum) is prepared from an exudate from the stems and branches of sub-Saharan (Sahel zone) Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal trees and produced naturally as large nodules during a process called gummosis to seal wounds in the bark of the tree. If the bark of a tree is cut, gum will be produced to close the gaps, a process that takes about 3-8 weeks.

The use of Arabic gum has a long history, its known that Egyptians used it as thickener in cosmetics and for mummification.

Gum arabic is a useful if rather expensive thickening agent, emulsifier, texturizer and film-former, widely used in the drinks industry to stabilize flavours and essential oils, for example in soft drink concentrates. Gum arabic is used in confectionery such as traditional hard (wine) gums, pastilles and as a foam stabilizer in marshmallows.

Gum Arabic is chemically a carbohydrate polymer, which is partly degraded in the large intestine. Within the diet it is part of the fibre fraction. The energy value of Arabic gum is less than half compared with starch and or and maltodextrine.

In more detail; gum arabic is a complex and variable mixture of arabinogalactan oligosaccharides, polysaccharides and glycoproteins. Depending on the source, the glycan components contain a greater proportion of L-arabinose relative to D-galactose (Acacia seyal) or D-galactose relative to L-arabinose (Acacia senegal). The gum from Acacia seyal also contains significantly more 4-O-methyl-D-glucuronic acid but less L-rhamnose and unsubstituted D-glucuronic acid than that from Acacia senegal



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