Natural gums have various uses in industry including paint making, canning, adhesives and chemical manufacturing, confectionary making, pharmaceuticals, dairy and even the soft drinks manufacturing. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to process and less harmful to the environment.
Types of Natural and Synthetic Gums
The most common types of gums useful in industry include the xanthum gum, polyester, the Guarkernmehl, estergum and alkyl resin. Research has noted that gums and resins are applied at the last stages of production processes. In the fruit processing and packing industry, gums are used to create uniformity in products and create evenness and wholesomeness of product and prevent ingredients from separating out.
In adhesives and reagents manufacturing, resins act as tackifiers and in the pharmaceutical industries, the la gomme de guar is used as a thickener to increase viscosity of the products. They also act as suspending agents in liquid formulations.
In confectioneries, gums are used for hardening sweets as well as forming the base for chewing gums.
Resins are used in the paint industry to act as binding elements during formulation of paints.
Arguments for Natural Gums
Natural gums are increasingly replacing synthetic polymers in the food processing and the pharmaceutical industry. Their ability to swell and form highly viscous solutions is one of their main characteristics. They are also low cost and relatively abundant in supply compared to synthetic polymers. The range of uses for natural and plant-derived polymers increases by the day and this has generated a lot of interest. They also act as diluents, disintegrant in tablets and even protective colloids in suspensions. In some cases, they are preferred over synthetic gums due to their biocompatibility
Comparison of Natural and Synthetic Gums in Production Processes
Synthetic, acrylic polymers are grouped into alkali soluble emulsions, hydrophobically modified alkali soluble emulsions and ethoxylated urethane resins. They are referred to as associative thickeners, which are water-soluble polymers with hydrophobic groups. Most synthetic polymers depend on the presence of an alkali to activate the thickening mechanism.
Differentiating Characteristics between Natural and Synthetic Gums
Natural gums such as the goma de guar are polysaccharides made up of glucose and mannose groups. Their preparation process involves refining plants parts such as the seed and the bark. latexes are extracted as liquids from plants which are heated or boiled to achieve the required thickness. Synthetic gums and resins are on the other hand prepared through a chemical mixing process. This makes it easier for modification of their properties. Natural gums have more complicated modification processes and it is worthy to note that they are more acceptable in food processing.
There are various advantages for the use of natural gums in industry. In food processing, where there are vigorous legislation for consumer protection, natural gums are more acceptable due to traceability and organic nature. The most common natural gums used in industry include xanthum gum, latex, estergum and the gomma di guar. Some of the common uses of the gums include thickeners, surfactants and suspending agents.
This article has been posted by Biren Patel working at Agro Gums. Agro Gums is a guar and cassia gum manufacturing company offering high quality guar gum powder, fast hydration guar gum powder, cassia powder, guar splits and guar meal to satisfy the production requirements of various industries across the world.