What is Xanthan Gum (E415)? Uses, Safe, Side Effect

What is Xanthan Gum (E415)? Uses, Safe, Side Effect

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Xanthan Gum (E415) is a polysaccharide produced by natural fermentation of glucose or sucrose using Xanthomonas campestris . Xanthan gum is also called Poly-Glucomannan, Polycorn or Gellan gum. It has the same structure as a mannose(Glucose monomer) with some branch of glucose on the end.

What is xanthan gum?


Xanthan gum is a natural polysaccharide that is derived from the fermentation of glucose or sucrose. It is available in two forms: a powder, which is used in liquid preparations, and a solution, which is used in solid preparations. The xanthan gum powder is added to the liquid phase of the formulation and then it binds with water.

The xanthan gum solution can be added to dry ingredients before mixing them with water as a thickening agent.

Xanthan gum was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century by an American microbiologist who found that bacteria were producing a substance that helped them cling to surfaces. This substance was later named xanthan gum, after the bacteria (Xanthomonas campestris).

What does xanthan gum do?


Xanthan gum is a food additive used as a thickening agent in many commercial foods. It can be added to anything from salad dressings and sauces to ice cream, baked goods and even toothpaste.

Xanthan gum is made by taking natural gas-derived xanthosine, which is a sugar, and combining it with water. The result is a sticky substance that can be used as an emulsifier or stabilizer in food products. Xanthan gum also acts as an emulsifier in non-food items like paint and cosmetics.

The uses for xanthan gum are many and varied, but its main function is to thicken liquids so that they become gel-like when heated or cooled down. It also helps stabilize emulsions (a mixture of two liquids), preventing them from separating into their individual parts. Since xanthan gum is such a versatile substance, it’s often found in cosmetics like hair styling products as well as toothpaste and anti-aging lotions and creams

Where Is xanthan gum found?


Xanthan gum is a natural polysaccharide that is used as an emulsifier and thickener in food and cosmetic products. It is produced by bacteria of the genus Xanthomonas, particularly Xanthomonas campestris, which ferments glucose (from starch) to produce xanthan gum.

The resulting thick liquid contains the polysaccharide chains which are responsible for its gelling and thickening abilities. The xanthan gum must then be filtered and dried before being added to foods or cosmetics. Xanthan gum has been used for decades as an alternative to gluten for those suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. In addition, it can be used as an egg substitute in baking recipes.

Xanthan gum was first discovered in 1950 by a French engineer named Alfred Costes-Reverdy who was working with bacteria found on grape vines at a vineyard near Paris called Les Coteaux de la Marne. He isolated the bacteria he found on the grape vines, which were later identified as Xanthomonas campestris pv. Vinifera, and grew it in a culture medium containing glucose as its sole carbon source.

How is xanthan gum made of?


This compound is primarily composed of D-glucose, D-glucuronic acid, D-mannose, pyruvic acid, and acetic acid. These three substances can be found as 4,6-pyruvylated mannose and 6-acetylated mannose.


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Structure of xanthan gum


The ratio of glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid is 2:2:1. Media culture compositions and fermentation conditions determine how much pyruvic acid and acetic acid are substituted.

How is xanthan gum produced?


Commercial Xanthan gum is produced by fermenting carbohydrate sources with strains of Xanthomonas campestris (a naturally occurring bacterium found on green vegetable leaves), followed by purification with ethanol or isopropanol. A salt (sodium, potassium, or calcium) is manufactured from the final product.

Specification


Other names
  • Xanthan
  • Polysaccharide B 1459
  • corn sugar gum
CAS number 11138-66-2
Chemical formula NA, C35H49O29 (monomer)
Molecular weight Approximately 1,000,000

Properties


Appearance


In the market, cream-colored powder is commonly available in 80mesh and 200mesh mesh sizes.

Solubility


  • For its 1% solution (25°C), it is soluble in both hot and cold water with a pH range of 5.5–8.5.
  • Ethanol is insoluble in it.

Viscosity


High viscosity with low level

The common use in food is 0.5% or less for thickening and It is possible to achieve a high viscosity at a low concentration.   Gelatin has a viscosity of 100 times less than that of its 1% solution, which has a viscosity between 1200-1700 cps.

Stability

In contrast, other hydrocolloids (pectin, sodium alginate) will break down under these conditions, whereas the viscosity of the solution is stable and unlikely to change with pH (pH 3 – 11), salts (10% KCl, 10% NaCl2, and 5% Na2CO3).

Synergy

It interacts synergistically with other plant galactomannans, including guar gum (which is more viscous), locust bean gum (which can gel), carrageenan, and konjac glucomannan to increase viscosity. Also, it works synergistically with starches (prevents starch gelatinization).

Shear-thinning

In low shear rates, viscosity is high, and it becomes low in high shear rates, returning to its original viscosity once shear forces are removed. In addition to stabilizing, thickening, suspending, and emulsifying, the pseudoplastic property plays an important role.

Thickener


For example, in fruit drinks, fruit juice concentrates, sauce, and salad dressing, xanthan gum increases the viscosity of a liquid without altering any other properties.

Emulsifier


By stabilizing the O/W emulsion due to its lipophilic and hydrophilic groups, it prevents oil and water separation, improves protein stability, prevents fat floating, and prevents protein precipitation. A protein beverage and a milk beverage are examples of such applications.

Not a gelling agent


Since it has weak gel strength or almost no gel strength, it is not used as a gelling agent, but it can be used in combination with locust bean gum at a concentration of 0.5% to form a rubbery gel.

What are the uses of xanthan gum?


The most widely used gum in the food market, xanthan gum is widely used for thickening drilling mud, textiles, and cosmetics because of its resistance to acid, alkali, the salt, and enzymes.

Food products commonly thickened with xanthan gum include:

  • Baked goods
  • Dressings, frozen desserts
  • Confections
  • Cake and dessert mixes
  • Dairy products
  • Ice cream
  • Pudding and gelatin mixes
  • Jams and jellies
  • Sauces & Seasonings
  • salad dressings
  • Meat & Egg Products
  • Cookies
  • Puddings
  • Soup
  • Instant products

Baked food


There are several reasons why xanthan gum can be used in baking (e.g. bread, cookies, biscuits, muffins, cakes):

  • Increase the volume of the loaf
  • Strengthens the crumb
  • Retains more water
  • Provide a smooth taste and texture

As a result, baked goods and refrigerated dough have a longer shelf life because starch aging is delayed.

It is also possible to reduce the use of egg whites by using them instead of eggs without sacrificing taste or appearance. Add it to the bread spread to prevent dehydration caused by bread absorption.

Also, xanthan gum can be used in gluten-free baking to replace gluten’s role in binding flour together, which is beneficial for celiac patients.

Beverage


  • It is common to use carboxymethyl cellulose sodium (CMC) in fruit and chocolate beverages to improve mouthfeel.
  • You can stabilize suspensions of fruit pulp and other insoluble ingredients in corn beverages with konjac gum, for instance.
  • The addition of guar gum to peanut protein beverages improves the taste, reduces the amount of emulsifier, and stabilizes the product.

Salad dressings


In the production of heat-stable salad dressings, smoothness is added and other ingredients are distributed evenly.

Ice cream


In general, ice cream stabilizers function as follows:

Prevent water loss during freezing and thawing
Enhance water retention
Melting-resistant
Increase the rate of expansion
Provide a creamy mouthfeel and smooth texture
To prevent the formation of ice crystals

Sauces


Xanthan gum is a natural thickener that can be used as a replacement for starch and overcome the deficiencies of starch precipitation, make sauces fine and uniform, improve the color, and extend the shelf life of sauces.

Meat


As well as increasing water holding capacity, xanthan gum imparts a smooth, elastic texture to sausage and brine-injected ham.

Other food uses


  • It can be used to thicken both cold and hot soups and gravies.
  • Pudding and yogurt stabilize milk and improve mouthfeel.
  • Thicken protein powder in a protein shake.

What are xanthan gum substitutes?


Xanthan gum can sometimes be substituted for the following nine ingredients: corn starch, psyllium husk, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (sodium CMC), agar agar, gum arabic, locust bean gum, and carrageenan.

As for the above replacements, only psyllium husk, guar gum, and locust bean gum are considered dietary fiber, which provides the following benefits:

  • Blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are lowered
  • Improved laxation
  • Taking in fewer calories

There are five main differences between xanthan gum and its substitutes:

  1. Source
  2. Viscosity
  3. Gelling ability
  4. Xanthan gum is known for its stability
  5. Dietary fiber or not

Here are the nine substitutes:

Cornstarch


Despite its limited application due to, e.g., insolubility in water, unresistance to acid, heat or shear, corn starch is widely used as a thickening agent in fresh foods and short-term storage foods. For specialized purposes, native corn starch is sometimes modified into modified corn starch.

Xanthan gum has some advantages over corn starch, including:

  • Use: Less quantity is required to achieve a desired viscosity. Xanthan gum thickens without being heated, while corn starch does.
  • Viscosity stability: maintain a lower viscosity.
  • Clarity: provides a transparent solution whereas corn starch makes the solution cloudy.

Psyllium husk


As a thickener or binding agent in gluten-free baking, psyllium husk can replace xanthan gum, Seed coats from psyllium seeds.

Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose


To improve the solubility of CMC in water, cellulose derivatives or sodium salts of CMC are made from natural cellulose after alkalinization and etherification. This is another popular thickener (not a gelling agent) in food that thickens, suspends, emulsifies, and stabilizes.

Agar agar


Red algae polysaccharide extracted from Rhodophyceae, which is insoluble in cold water and can be used as a gelatin substitute in jelly.

Gum arabic


Chocolates, candies, and chewing gum use this water-soluble polysaccharide derived from the stems and an acacia senegal and an acacia seyal branch.

Locust bean gum


Typically used as a thickener (can also act as a gelling agent with a high concentration) in ice cream, the endosperm of the carob (locust) seed contains this polysaccharide.

Konjac gum and Konjac glucomannan


Among the strongest viscosity polysaccharides, made from the root of the konjac plant, commonly found in meat products and noodles.

Gelatin


Collagen is commonly found in fish, beef, and pig skin and bones, and is used to make yogurt, pudding, and ice cream. Vegetarians should avoid this product as it originated from animals.

Carrageenan


It thickens and gels when extracted from red algae. There are three types of this ingredient: Kappa, Iota, and Lambda, which can be further classified into semi-refined and refined grades based on the manufacturing process used. Meat is the most common application.

Is xanthan gum safe to eat for body?


There are almost no side effects, and it is approved for use by the FDA, EFSA, and Food Additives Expert Committee of FAO/WHO.

FDA


Foods can be thickened, stabilized, emulsified, suspended, bodyed, or foamed using Xanthomonas campestris Xanthan Gum.

EFSA


The European Commission lists xanthan gum (E415) as a food additive and categorized it under “other additives than colours and sweeteners”.

Safety re-evaluation in 2017


When used as a food additive, xanthan gum (E415) does not pose a safety concern and does not require a numerical ADI. For infants, however, there is a maximum level of use.

Approved uses


Quantum satis is the highest level assigned to its application in “Group I”. It can be used for the following purposes:

  • Marmalades, jams, and jellies
  • Preparations for meat
  • Sweeteners in powder or liquid form for tabletop use
  • Baby foods made with processed cereals and gluten-free cereals

UK Food Standards Agency


This category includes emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners, and gelling agents.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand


Australia and New Zealand have approved it as a food ingredient under code number 415.

JECFA


In the function class of food additives, you will find emulsifiers, thickeners, foaming agents, and stabilizers.

In 1986, the ADI was set as “not specific”. In 2016, infant formula was established to have a maximum use level of 1000 mg/L.

What is xanthan gum side effects?


The side effects of xanthan gum are usually mild and temporary. However, long-term use can cause more serious problems.

Xanthan gum is a common ingredient in many foods and medications. It’s also used as a thickener, stabilizer, or emulsifier in many foods. Xanthan gum is made from corn sugar and bacteria that feed on it. The bacteria produce a slimy substance called xanthan gum that is added to many products to improve texture and consistency.

Xanthan gum is generally considered safe when consumed in small amounts. However, there are some possible side effects associated with its consumption that may cause problems for some people.

Possible Side Effects


The following are the most common side effects of xanthan gum consumption:

Diarrhea

Bloating and Flatulence (Gas)

Constipation

Frequently asked questions


Why do xanthan gums agglomerate easily?


Xanthan gum is an exopolysaccharide produced by Xanthomonas campestris, a gram-negative bacterium that grows on wheat and other crops as well as in soil. The bacterial strain was first identified in 1942, but not until 1961 was the chemical structure of xanthan determined. The molecule has three branches: one chain of sugar molecules and two chains of amino acids.

Xanthan gum is easy to agglomerate because it is a polyelectrolyte. A polyelectrolyte is a molecule with an uneven distribution of ions on its surface (positive or negative) which makes it have a net charge at some pH value or concentration.

How to use xanthan gum?


Xanthan gum is most often used as an additive in commercial food processing, especially ice cream and salad dressing. It’s also available to buy online or at many grocery stores. Here are some tips on how to use xanthan gum:

Add it to cake flour

Use xanthan gum when making gluten-free cakes and cookies. Add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of cake flour before baking your recipe. This will help your cake rise and keep its shape while baking.

Thicken sauces

If you’re making a sauce that needs a little extra body, try adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of liquid before serving the final dish. This will thicken the sauce without altering the flavor too much.

Make peanut butter milk shakes

To make a peanut butter milk shake without getting lumps in the milk, add 1 tablespoon of xanthan gum per 1 pound of milk. Add the xanthan gum in with the vanilla, and then whisk it into the milk.

To make a peanut butter shake that’s not too thick, add 1/2 cup of ice cubes to each serving. To thicken your shakes if you’d like them thicker than milkshakes, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch per 1 pound (or more) of milk, and mix it in well before adding to the blender.

Does xanthan gum have carbs?


Yes, xanthan gum does have carbs. Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide (a carbohydrate) made from the bacterial fermentation of glucose or sucrose. It is used as a thickening agent in foods like salad dressings and ice creams, and it’s also used to thicken liquids like sauces.

Is xanthan gum keto friendly?


Yes,  Xanthan gum is keto-friendly, but only if you’re using it to add texture to your recipe. Xanthan gum is made by fermenting a bacteria that feeds on sugar, which means it’s not technically “sugar-free” like other flours and starches are.

Is xanthan gum natural?


The short answer is yes. Xanthan gum is a natural product produced by the fermentation of sugar and corn syrup, which means it’s made from plant-based products.

Xanthan gum is used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods such as salad dressing, ice cream, and sauces. It can also be used as an adhesive for cosmetics or glue for paper crafts.

Halal, kosher, and vegetarian foods can use xanthan gum?


Yes, When processed with isopropyl alcohol, it is halal, kosher, and vegetarian. Other than that, it is a questionable ingredient for kosher and halal due to ethanol’s presence.

Regardless of whether ethanol or isopropyl alcohol is used, xanthan gum is vegan because the raw materials and process do not contain animal products.

Is it gluten free?


Yes, Due to the absence of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreds of these grains, it is gluten free and widely used in gluten-free foods. It can also be used to replace gluten in baked goods to improve texture.

What’re the health benefits of xanthan gum?


Xanthan gum is a natural sugar made from glucose, which is fermented by bacteria. The exopolysaccharide that results from this process is then harvested and dried into a powder.

Xanthan gum has several health benefits, including:

– Reducing constipation by increasing stool bulk and softening stools

– Improving digestion by lowering the pH of stomach contents (making them less acidic)

– Increasing the viscosity of gastric secretions

– Reducing inflammation in the digestive tract through its anti-inflammatory effects

how to use xanthan gum as thickener?


To use xanthan gum as a thickener, simply add it to your liquid ingredients while they are being heated. The amount of xanthan gum you will need to add will depend on what kind of sauce or dressing you are making and how much liquid you have available. For example, if you are making a tomato-based sauce and want it to be thin enough to pour over pasta noodles but thick enough not to run off the noodles when they are reheated in the microwave, use about 1 teaspoon per cup of water or other liquid. If you are making a dip for chips or crackers, use 1 teaspoon per cup of dipping sauce.

Where to buy xanthan gum?


If you want to buy xanthan gum for either cooking or supplementation, there are several places where you can find it. Here are four options:

– Buy online from Amazon or Walmart. These two companies offer several different brands of xanthan gum that are available both as single-serving packets and as larger containers.

– Visit your local grocery store or health food store. Many markets have their own brand of xanthan gum that they sell in bulk bins near other baking ingredients like flour and sugar.

– Look in your local pharmacy or drugstore aisle—these stores often sell xanthan gum alongside other over-the-counter medicines like cough syrups and antacids.

Conclusion


In summary, Xanthan Gum is a natural additive that can be used to replace thicker gums such as Guar Gum. We would advise that you use Xanthan Gum if you want a thickener in your food or beverage but want to avoid using Guar Gum. You will not see much difference in the taste of your product and there will not be any adverse side effects. An alternative for Xanthan Gum is tapioca. Tapioca is made from cassava root and is used in thousands of food products including ice cream, jellies, sauces, yogurts, puddings and bakery items to provide texture improvement and stability.

if you have any questions about this additive, feel free to leave your comments to discuss with us.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophia Feng, Marketing Manager of Grade Chemical, specializes in writing food chemical article, custom chemical article, industry chemical blog.

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