Xanthan Gum is a polysaccharide. It is secreted by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. The bacterium secretes it during fermentation. It is basically a thickening agent that is used in medications, cosmetic products, and foods. Xanthan Gum is made by fermenting sugar with bacteria. It has strong binding properties, hence it is popular as an emulsifying agent. The gum is also gluten-free, naturally.
Uses of xanthan gum
Most of the countries have accepted Xanthan Gum as a food additive that is safe. Following are some of the uses of xanthan gum.
• Xanthan gum helps to increase the viscosity or thickness of a liquid. Only a small quantity of the gum is required (on the order of 1%). With higher shear rates, the thickness of xanthan gum solutions decreases. A product subjected to shear, whether from shaking, mixing or chewing, will eventually thin out. However, after the shear forces are gone, the food will thicken up again. For example, salad dressing , the gum will make it thick enough for it to rest in a bottle. However, once it is shaken, and poured, it will thin out. Once outside the box, the shear forces are removed, so it will thicken back up, and will cling to the salad.
• Xanthan gum is not an emulsifier, however, it helps to prevent the separation of oil , by stabilizing the emulsion. It also helps suspend solid particles, like spices. Xanthan gum is responsible for the pleasant texture in many of the ice creams. Xanthan gum acts as a binder in many of the toothpaste, to keep the product uniform. It also helps to thicken egg substitutes made from egg whites.
• Gluten causes health problems in people who suffers from gluten-related disorders. Xanthan gum is used in gluten-free baking . In the oil industry, xanthan gum is used to thicken drilling mud. In cosmetics, the preparation of water gels require xanthan gum is used. Xanthan gum is also used in fake blood recipes. It has some skin hydrating properties as well.
• Xanthan gum helps to lower blood sugar level, as well as the cholesterol level in diabetic people. It is sometimes used as a saliva substitute in people with dry mouth (Sjogren's syndrome). It slows the sugar absorption from the digestive system, and acts / works like saliva to lubricate the mouth. Xanthan gum can also be used as a laxative. It stimulates the digestive tract to push stool through.