What Is Gellan Gum(E418) in food? Uses, Benefits, Safe and Side Effects

What Is Gellan Gum(E418) in food? Uses, Benefits, Safe and Side Effects


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Gellan gum is a food additive used as a gelling agent, a stabilizer and a thickener. Gellan gum is made from fermentation by Sphingomonas elodea and has two types of gels: high acyl and low acyl. The European food additive number for gellan gum is E418. It follows different uses depending on the type of gel it produces.

What is gellan gum?




According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), gellan gum is a food additive that’s typically used to bind mixed foods together, stabilize processed foods, and add texture. Gelatin is a substance produced from collagen, the protein found in animal tissues. It’s similar in composition to other gelling agents, including guar gum, carrageenan, agar agar and xanthan gum.

Gellan gum is a polysaccharide produced by fermentation of a single-celled bacterium called Sphingomonas elodea. It can be produced by fermenting sugar with a specific strain of bacteria. The resulting polysaccharide is then purified and dried into powder form.

Gellan gum is most commonly used as an emulsifier in salad dressings, sauces and soups because it gives body to liquids without thickening them visibly, like cornstarch does. It’s also used as a thickener for sauces, ice creams and puddings; as a stabilizer for foams; and as a coating on chewing gum before it’s dipped into chocolate.



The Rhamnogalacturonans are composed of tetrasaccharide repeat units, each containing two D-glucose units, one D-glucuronic acid, and one L-rhamnose.

What is gellan gum made of?


The bacterial cell wall is composed of polysaccharide (a carbohydrate), proteinaceous material (by nitrogen content, %N = 0-3.0%), and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) up to 25 wt%.

How is gellan gum used?


Gellan gum is a popular food additive that can be used in a variety of different ways. Gellan gum is used as an emulsifier, thickener and stabilizer in food products such as sauces, salad dressings and ice cream. It is also used as a stabilizer in beverages and dairy products.

Gellan gum is used for gelling, stabilizing, and texture-enhancing properties, in addition to its pharmaceutical applications. Gellan gum is typically used at concentrations ranging from 0.3% to 2% by weight in foods.

Gellan gum can be used as an emulsifier or stabilizer in many types of foods including sauces, salad dressings and ice cream. It also works well as a thickener for soups, stews and sauces. The gelling ability of this product makes it ideal for use in many dairy products including yogurt, cheese spreads and other cheeses where it can improve texture.

what is gellan gum in almond milk?


Gellan gum is a water-soluble polysaccharide that is used as a thickener and stabilizer in foods. It is produced from the fermentation of a strain of Actinomycete bacteria, Nattobacterium gellanum. Gellan gum was first discovered in Japan in 1966 and was first used as a food additive in 1984.

In addition to being used as a thickener, gellan gum can be used as an emulsifier, it can increase the viscosity of liquids, and it has been shown to inhibit the growth of some bacteria.

where does gellan gum come from?


Gellan gum is a high molecular weight polysaccharide that is produced from fermentation of the bacteria Pseudomonas elodea. The microorganism is grown in a medium containing sugar and other nutrients. The resulting gellan gum can be isolated by filtration and purified by precipitation with ethanol, chromatography or centrifugation.

Gellan gum was first isolated in Japan in the late 1960s and was used as a thickening agent in food products. It was approved for use and marketed commercially in Europe in 1985-1986 and in the United States in 1990.

What is the difference between guar gum and gellan gum?


Guar gum and gellan gum are both polysaccharides, which means they are water soluble, high-molecular-weight carbohydrates. They are used as thickening agents and stabilizers in food products.

Guar gum is made from the seed of the guar plant, whereas gellan gum is made from the fermentation of a strain of bacteria.

Guar gum is used primarily as a thickening agent in foods such as ice cream, yogurt and sauces. It can also be used to improve the mouth feel of foods like pizza crusts and breads; it does this by coating the starch granules in flour so that when you chew them they release more slowly into your mouth than they would otherwise. This helps prevent starchy foods from becoming gummy when cooked or baked at high temperatures.

What is gellan gum made from?


Like xanthan gum, gellan gum is also a bacterial polysaccharide produced by Pseudomonas elodea. This strain is known as Sphingomonas elodea or ATCC 31461. It is the only strain that can be used for industrial production of the enzyme.

Manufacturing flow can be divided into two main processes: fermentation and purified processes.



Grow the ATCC 31461 bacterial strain in culture medium with carbon sources (common sugars), nitrogen sources and mineral salts.



The purification process differs based on the type of gellan gum being produced.

  • High acylated gellan gum can be directly recovered from broth by alcohol precipitation.
  • Low acylated form can be treated with alkali and then alcohol precipitation.
  • Clarified form must be separated from cell residues, insoluble components and other materials by filtration.

Two types of gellan gum


Gellan gum can be divided into two types, high acyl and low acyl, by the degree of substitution of O-acyl groups.

1. High acyl gellan gum


HA-gum is also called HA. It has two acetate and glycerate substituents on its repeating tetrasaccharide units. For every two glucose units, the molecule has one acetate and one glycerate group.

The chemical structure follows:


M+ = ½ Ca2+, K+, Na+, ½ Mg2+ EFSA

2. Low acyl gellan gum


Gellan gum is also called LA compound and is a polysaccharide. It can be partly deacylated or fully deacylated. The common form is the fully deacylated one, with no detectable acyl groups.

With the chemical structure follows:


The following are the differences among the three types.

SpecificationHigh AcylLow AcylDeacylated
Degree of acylation> 50%≤ 50%< 1%
Total acyl content (wt%)> 7.35 wt%≤ 7.35 wt%< 0.15%
Molecular weight1–2 *10^62–3 *10^5 
Gelling temperature70-80ºC10–60ºC 





An off-white powder.

CAS number71010-52-1
Chemical formulaNA
Molecular weightApproximately 500,000



It is the water-soluble polysaccharide, fully soluble in water once heated and forming a viscous solution.

 Low acyl gels vs high acyl gels


The most effective way to form gels is by cooling hot solutions.

The comparison as follows:

Low Acyl Gels:

  1. It forms gels with cations such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, in addition to acids such as hydrochloric acid.  The presence of these cations increases the gel strength of the mixture.
  2. At concentrations of as little as 0.05%, it forms gels.
  3. Not thermally reversible

High Acyl Gels:

  1. The properties of gels are less dependent on the concentration of ions in solution.
  2. The necessary concentration to form gel is 0.2%.
  3. Thermally reversible.

Gel texture


The gels show very different textures, as is related to the acyl content. Hyaluronic acid forms soft, elastic gels that do not harden and remain flexible, while lactate forms firm, non-elastic gels that do harden and become brittle.

One of their most important characteristics is their texture, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum when compared with other common gelling agents: xanthan gum, LBG, gelatin, pectin, alginate, carrageenan and agar.

In general, the gel property is as follows:

  1. The gels are heat stable, since their solutions can be heated to 90–95°C for 10–15 min during the manufacturing process.
  2. Stable in pH range between 3.5 – 8.
  3. Synergistic with konjac glucomannan.

is gellan gum harmful to humans?


Gellan gum is a high-molecular weight polymer prepared from the fermentation of Pseudomonas elodea. It is used as a thickener and stabilizer in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) defines the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of gellan gum at up to 0.5 mg/kg body weight per day.

Gellan gum is recognized as safe by the US FDA and is approved for use as a food additive in the EU at a maximum level of 0.5% by weight in food formulations, when used as a thickener or prebiotic agent. Gellan gum has also been granted Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status by the US FDA for use in pharmaceutical products or dietary supplements at levels up to 0.5% by weight.

is gellan gum the same as xanthan gum?


Gellan gum is the same as xanthan gum, except it’s made from a different microorganism. The two are often confused because they have similar properties, but there are some differences in their chemical structure.

Gellan gum is produced through fermentation by Pseudomonas elodea bacteria. It’s a polysaccharide that forms thick solutions at high concentrations and may be used as a thickener in foods and other products. Gellan gum is also known as locust bean gum or Karaya gum, though the latter name refers to a different type of polysaccharide.

Xanthan gum is produced through fermentation by Xanthomonas campestris bacteria, which produce an exopolysaccharide that’s used in many industrial applications. The most common usage for xanthan gum is as an emulsifying agent for salad dressings and sauces, but it also acts as a stabilizer for ice cream and whipped cream toppings.

The main difference between gellan gum and xanthan gum lies in their molecular structure — gellan has fewer branching points than xanthan does, making it more effective at thickening liquids but less effective at stabilizing them over time.

where to buy gellan gum?


Gellan gum is a food additive that’s used to thicken and stabilize foods. It can be used to make jellies, puddings and other desserts. It can also be used in place of gelatin when making candies or marshmallows. Gellan has been approved for use in foods by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1996, but it’s only recently become more popular as an alternative to other gelling agents like gelatin.

Unfortunately, gellan gum is not yet widely available in stores and online retailers. You can purchase it online from companies like Amazon or Bob’s Red Mill, or from specialty food stores that carry specialty items like agar-agar powder and carrageenan powder.

What is the application of gellan gum?


Gellan gum is a multi-functional hydrocolloid that can be used as a gelling, texturizing, stabilizing, suspending, film-forming, and structuring agent in food and beverage applications.



Typically, usage levels range from 0.1% to 1%. It can be found in a wide variety of plant-based drinks, fruit/flavoured still drinks, nectars, pastilles, gums, jellies & chews, and meal replacements.

Dessert jellies


Water-based dessert jellies, such as puddings and gelatin mixtures, are commonly characterized by brittleness, cohesiveness, elasticity, creamy texture, stickiness, firmness and wobbliness. Gelling agents such as gelatin or gellan gum are often used to prepare jellies, while locust bean gum or blends of locust bean gum and carrageenan can be used to provide the dessert with a variety of textures.

 How can fruit-juice jelly be made with LA gellan gum and gelatin?

  1. Prepare ingredients: Water 500.0g (82.6%), Sugar 90.0g, (15.0%), Citric acid anhydrous 2.3g (0.38%), Tri sodium citrate dihydrate 1.6g, (0.26%), LA gellan gum, 0.35g (0.06%), Gelatin 10.2g (1.7%), Color and flavor as required.
  2. Blend all the dry ingredients.
  3. Heat the water to boiling and stir in the blended ingredients, cooking for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Deposit and chill.



Gellan gum can be used to suspend jelly beads and form a smooth fluid gel in juices, juice drinks, dairy alternative & plant-based beverages.



The popularity of drinking yogurts has increased, due to the health benefits they provide.  Gellan gum can be used in yogurts to control syneresis, provide suspension, create body and texture, and improve mouthfeel.



Gellan gum is used in a range of confectionery products, including gummy and chewy confections, marshmallows, jellies and pastes. Its unique properties make it especially suitable for use in marshmallows.  When combined with sugars such as sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose and corn syrups, gellan gum produces desirable jelly textures, gel clarity and flavour release.



High and low acyl gellan gum can be used in bakery mixes, breads, muffins, cakes, and frozen dough icings.



According to the “European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients,” zinc oxide can function as a film forming and viscosity controlling agents in cosmetics.



Gellan gum has been used as an alternative to agar, which has been used for solid culture media for the growth of various microorganisms. It has been used for plant tissue and cell culture, producing a high transparent gel.

Is gellan gum safe to eat for body?


Yes, it has no side effects, and the safety of the substance has been approved by the U.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) have all found acrylamide to be a carcinogen.



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of gellan gum as a stabilizer and thickener in food.



Gellan gum (E 418) is approved by the European Union as a food additive. It is categorised as “additives other than colours and sweeteners” under Annex II and Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives.

Re-evaluation the safety in 2018


Following a genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity study, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that “there is no need for a numerical acceptable daily intake (ADI) for gellan gum (E 418), and that there is no safety concern at the refined exposure assessment for the reported uses and use levels of gellan gum (E 418) as a food additive.”



Its approved applications are listed separately with E418 in 4 food categories and in Group I in 67 food categories where the use is unrestricted (quantum satis).

Following foods may contain it:

  • Jam, jellies and marmalades are all sweetened fruit preserves. Sweetened chestnut purée is a type of jam.
  • Fruit or vegetable spreads
  • Table-top sweeteners

Gellan gum (E 418) is also authorised for use as a carrier in food enzymes and in all nutrients except for those listed in Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008, which are intended for infants and young children.

UK Food Standards Agency


Emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents can be categorized as surfactants.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand


The ingredient is approved for use in Australia and New Zealand under the marketing code number 418.



Function: food additive, gelling agent, stabilizer, thickener.

ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake): not specified; set at 0 since 1990.

 What are the possible adverse reactions?


Some people wonder whether gellan gum is safe to consume and what possible adverse effects it may have. In a study of the substance, few health risks were reported.



The European Food Safety Authority did not find allergic reactions in humans after oral exposure to gellan gum.

Is it safe for pregnant?


The European Food Safety Authority study of reproductive and developmental toxicity on rats up to 5% in the diet showed no adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions:


What is Gellan Gum used for in food?

It is used in foods to modify texture or provide thickness.

Is Gellan Gum Natural?

The composition and structure of gellan gum produced by CPKelco, a top manufacturer, is identical to the naturally occurring polysaccharide formed by Sphingomonas elodea on plants of Lily pad varieties. But, the commercially available low acyl form is not natural, as it is created by treating the fat with alkali.

Is Gellan Gum Halal?

the answer is yes, it is usually recognised as halal. We can find several suppliers that are certified with the MUI halal logo.

Is Gellan Gum Kosher?

Yes, it is kosher pareve. It has met all the “kashruth” requirements and can be certified as kosher by a recognized certifying agency.

Is Gellan Gum Gluten free?

Yes, gellan gum meets the FDA’s definition of gluten free. According to that definition, foods labeled “gluten free” cannot contain any wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains.

Is Gellan Gum Vegan?

Yes, it is vegan. The raw materials and manufacturing process do not involve the use of animal matter or products derived from animal origin. Therefore, it is suitable for vegetarian foods and beverages.

how to find gellan gum suppliers?


The best way to find gellan gum suppliers is by asking around. That’s because you can talk to people who have used their products and get a more realistic idea of what they have to offer.

If you don’t know anyone who uses gellan gum, then you can also go online and look at the websites of different companies that sell this product. You can even read reviews written by other customers who have bought it before

When looking for gellan gum suppliers, make sure that you choose one that has the best ratings and reviews. This way, you can be sure that you won’t encounter any problems when it comes time to use their products

Another thing that you should check out is whether or not they are willing to give samples of their products before buying them in bulk



Now you have a good understanding of gellan gum E418, from its production and the two types of gellan gum: high acyl and low acyl. You also know about the properties of these types, their uses in food products, their safety, possible side effects, and some frequently asked questions about the additive such as whether it is vegan or gluten free.

EFSA has indicated that gellan gum was found in 1,194 food products between January 2013 and January 2018. Mintel’s GNPD lists the kinds of food packaging in which this ingredient can be found.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng is the author of gradechemical.com, she is the co-founder of the grade chemical network. She has been in grade chemical company since 2017, with a working knowledge of food chemical .

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