Xanthan Gum is one of most commonly used gums to control viscosity and provide stability.
Xanthan Gum is a powder milled from the dried cell coat of a micro-organism called Xanthonomonas Campestris, grown under laboratory conditions.
It is naturally produced to stick the bacteria to the leaves of cabbage-like plants.
Xanthan Gum's most important property is its very high low-shear viscosity coupled with its strongly shear-thinning character.
Its properties include:
Applications: Gels only in the presence of Locust Bean Gum (LBG), Agar Agar or Carrageenan Kappa. Stabiliser. Suspensions thickener. Emulsifier. Foaming agent. Replaces gluten in yeast breads. Retards ice crystal growth in freeze-thaw situations.
Rate of Hydration: Rapid
Colour: Light to off white powder
Ph Solubility: 1-13
Doseage Rates: 0.05% - 1.5%
Xanthan Gum is mainly considered to be non-gelling and used for the control of viscosity due to the tenuous associations endowing it with weak-gel shear-thinning properties.
It hydrates rapidly in cold water without lumping to give a reliable viscosity, encouraging its use as thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier and foaming agent.
However when added to other hydrocolloids gels can be produced. Xanthan Gum forms thermoreversible soft elastic gels with Locust Bean Gum and can be added to Agar Agar and Kappa Carrageenan to form a more stable gel.
The consistent water holding ability of Xanthan Gum may be used for the control of syneresis and to retard ice recrystallization (ice crystal growth) in freeze-thaw situations.
Xanthan Gum may be used in pastry fillings, it prevents the weeping of the water in the filling, protecting the crispness of the crust.
Xanthan Gum may also be added to ice cream to prevent ice-crystals forming.
Xanthan Gum is capable of producing a large increase in the viscosity of a liquid by adding a very small amount, around 1%, however in most applications it is used at 0.5% or even as low as 0.05%