The guar gum is a highly used ingredient in the food making industry. Apart from usage as a thickener, it has shown impressive action as a flocculation aid. There has been a major shift in the preference of the guar compared to use of synthetic flocculation aids. Guar gum is a galactomannan extracted from the guar beans and has been found to have important uses in water purification for food processing. The aids are used together with the primary coagulants in the process of water clarification.
Action of Flocculant Aids
The flocculant aids allow production of manageable flocs with sufficient sizes and densities likely to settle out within the allowed settling time of the treatment plant. The aids have been used to enhance the process efficiency by reducing the time of flocculation hence clean water is achieved in shorter time.
The Flocculation Process
This process can also be referred to as coagulation or agglomeration and occurs when particles in a solution coalesce or condense forming larger sized particles in the solution and better filtration can be done. It is different from precipitation in that there is no cake formation in flocculation but particles remain suspended in solution.
Concerns for Use of Synthetic Flocculants
Polyacrylamide is one of the commonly recognized synthetic polymers, which have received criticism due to certain health concerns. There are arguments against these synthetics and they include;
- Increased pressure against use of chemicals in water purification
- There are no reliable parameters for detecting presence of acrylamide monomers in the drinking water
- Occupational and health hazards related to clean water contamination.
- There is always the risk of water contamination with the substance exceeding the recommended levels of greater than 0.25 micro grams per liter of water despite various attempts of control and legislation
Guar as a better flocculation aid in food processing
The guar gum has been found to increase the proportion of destabilized colloidal impurities settling above a stated minimum velocity. It has also been discovered that it may be used together with alum to reduce the raw water turbidity from a level of 26.5 to 1.0. From research, it indicates that the guar can be used as a safer alternative to the Polyacrylamide in water treatment for drinking and food processing.
Findings from research
With increased concern over safety of processed foods, natural flocculant aids are rapidly becoming the number one choice for water purification. The use of the guar gum in this process reduces treatment cycle time while reducing the total cost of the operation.
The most convectional flocculent aids must have no health effect and products of natural origin are more accepted in the food industry. There is a gradual departure from using synthetic flocculation aids to more natural ones due safety concerns as well need for greater process efficiency. Guar gum has been found to be a great alternative to synthetic flocculant aid as it achieves greater efficiency as well as being cost effective.
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.