How are Hydrocolloids being used for Improving Food Quality?

Hydrocolloids are characterised by their ability to form a highly viscous solution when mixed with water. Water being essential ingredients in most of the food products, makes hydrocolloids the most favourable additive whenever there is a requirement of change of texture. Long chains of polymers, present in Hydrocolloids like Guar Gum, leads to abundance in presence of hydroxyls. These hydroxyls bind with water molecules altering the viscosity of the whole solution. Hydrocolloids are being used extensively in soups, jelly, jams, gravies and various other products to modify their rheology. They act as thickening and gelling agents while also helping improve and preserve the quality of food over a long duration of time. Hydrocolloids property to control the growth of crystals of ice and sugar has allowed it makes its way into ice-creams, dessert and similar products.

Cassia Tora Seeds

Thickening Agent:

Hydrocolloid’s most important use in any food product is to provide viscous texture. The reasons why they are used so extensively in food products are mentioned below:

  1. Hydrocolloids provide high-grade thickening at comparatively low prices. Its abundance of availability and low cost makes it favourable for use.
  2. Hydrocolloids are having the ability to maintain viscosity over a wide range of pH and under high temperature. Since food products are most probably to be exposed to extensive heat and usually contains ingredients with different ph, it is important for hydrocolloids to remain stable.
  3. While hydrocolloids are fairly stable, in terms of viscosity; it is also important that viscosity can be altered as per desire. It is known that the viscosity of certain hydrocolloids, such as Arabic Gum, decreases with an increase in shear stress. This property can be used to alter viscosity as per the requirement.

While Starch, a hydrocolloid, is relatively cheap and abundant as compared to other hydrocolloids its thickening ability is considerably low. If one wants to use starch and wants a high-grade thickening effect, he/she has to add it in large amounts. Because of such high content of starch, it is a possibility that the taste of food might get altered. Guar gum powder, which has eight times the thickening effect of starch, is used in low concentration in various food products and still gives better results. Some of the products in which Gaur gum is used are ice-cream, ketchup, fruit Juices and pudding powder.

Gelling Agent:

While the functionality of gelling agents overlaps with that of thickening agents, it is important to know that the gelling agent gives a gel-like texture without the presence of any stiffness while thickeners are often known for the stiffness that it provides. Cassia Tora powder, hydrocolloids, is a naturally occurring gelling agent and also add to taste of the food.  Guar gum powder has the ability to mix in hot/cold water and possess shear thinning property. This property allows it to provide gel-like texture at low ph and at certain shear stress. While most of the gelling effects produced by hydrocolloids are reversible under certain ph or temperature, there are some which produce irreversible effects. Such hydrocolloids with irreversible gelling agents are usually used in the making of dairy products. Using Carboxymethylcellulose, like that of Guar gum, consistency index and viscosity of the product increases with greater efficiency as compared to when using Xanthan Gum or Tragacanth.

What do we provide?

At Agro Gums, we provide a variety of hydrocolloids including Guar, Cassia and Sesbania. These hydrocolloids are available in different forms including in derivative form, Fast Hydration Guar Gum. We have been serving the hydrocolloids market since 1979 and have huge experience. At Agro Gums, we maintain a Quality Assure department and without the approval of this department, no product is sent in the market.

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