Hydrocolloids are a heterogeneous group of long chain polymers. Main property is the forming viscous dispersion and gels when dispersed in water. It has an ability to modify the rheology of food system. It can affect two main aspects of the food, the flow behavior (viscosity) and mechanical solid property (texture). Thus it is now a popular additive and is one of the permitted food additive in several countries around the world.
Some of the popular hydrocolloids include guar gum powder and cassia gum powder.It also has several other properties and applications other than in the food industry. It can prevent growth of ice crystals and even withstand high temperatures besides which it is also more soluble. The other applications include pharmaceutical, mining, tobacco, textile, oil drilling, and more.
What are Hydrocolloids?
Hydrocolloids is a colloid system. Here the colloid particles are hydrophilic polymers that disperse in water. The reaction and state (gel or liquid) depends on the amount of water available. The are both reversible and irreversible, for example, agar is reversible hydrocolloids from seaweed extract that can exist in either gel or solid state.
There are several other types of hydrocolloids as well and these are from natural sources. Some examples are agar-agar, carrageenan which are extracts from seaweed & gelatin. Other popular examples are guar gum powder, cassia gum powder.
Hydrocolloids in medical treatment
This also often comes in handy for medical treatments. A hydrocolloids dressing can provide a good healing environment and is moist and insulating. It is perfect for a wound that is free from infection since it also allows the bodies own enzymes to heal a wound. The main features of a hydrocolloids dressing are as per this list:
- Contains gel forming agents.
- Has a waterproof backing.
- Available in many shapes and sizes.
- The adhesive border is optional.
Hydrocolloids in food industry
This has a high level of potential in the food industry and is slowly becoming one a common ingredient in the food industry. It is popular as an ingredient, food additive and health promoter. There are many advantages of using this in food since it works in several ways:
- Gelling Agents
- Fat Replacer
- Clarifying Agents
- Flocculating Agents
- Whipping Agents
- Clouding Agents
Natural Hydrocolloids – Properties & Applications
Natural Hydrocolloids are known for their applications in the food & textile industry and are gaining more popularity. The natural hydrocolloids include Guar Gum Powder, Cassia Gum Powder, Sesbania Gum, Locust Bean Gum, etc. The main properties(functions) include depolymerization, carboxymethylation, hydroxyalkylation, cationization, crosslinking, etc.
There are several other applications as per the list:
- Building, Civil Engineering
- Cosmetics, Detergents
- Mining, Oilfields
- Paints & Inks
- Paper, Textile industry
- Water treatment, food.
Guar Gum Powder and Cassia Gum Powder are some of the most popular natural hydrocolloids. It can hydrate rapidly in cold water and attain high viscosity in low concentration. This is useful for reducing cholesterol and lowering blood glucose and reducing weight.
It is perfect for textile industry since it can absorb water rapidly to prevent ink from spreading over all clothes. There are several other properties that make it perfect for textile industry like being able to prevent chemical corrosion and improve bonding.
The other applications include an attractant, artificial polymer and defoamer, mud drilling, oil & gas drilling, geological drilling, water drilling. It has high viscosity thus is a vital drilling aid and can also help reduce fiction in the holes.
Thus, Hydrocolloids are of great importance and have several applications.