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Gum kondagogu’s potential awaiting exploitation

By Stephen Daniells , 09-Apr-2009
Last updated on 10-Apr-2009 at 10:15 GMT

Gum kondagogu, a ‘novel natural biopolymer’ from the tree Cochlospermum gossypium, is a ‘good emulsifying agent even at low concentration’, say Indian researchers.

According to findings published today in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, gum kondagogu can produce a creamy white oil-in-water emulsion with good emulsifying properties at concentrations as low as 0.5 per cent.

 

“The results of this experimental investigation show that GKG is a good emulsifying agent even at low concentrations, with many potential applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries,” wrote the researchers, led by Prakash V. Diwan from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.

 

The study adds to a growing body of evidence of the potential of the gum to offer alternatives to established emulsifying gums, initially reported in 1998 (Food Chemistry, Vol. 61, pp. 231-236).

 

“With the increasing demand for natural gums, it has become necessary to explore newer sources of gums such as gum kondagogu (GKG), a tree gum of India which is yet to be industrially exploited,” explained the researchers.

 

Diwan and his co-workers report that gum kondagogu stabilises the emulsions in two ways: Firstly, it increases the viscosity of the continuous phase; and secondly it causes a mutual repulsion between oil droplets, thereby preventing aggregation of particles.

 

Furthermore, no significant changes were observed in the size of the particles, or the pH of the solution (around pH 5.3), over thirty of storage, “indicating that the emulsions were stable”, they said. No unpleasant odours developed during this storage period, added the researchers.

 

Improving the native gum

 

Another Indian study, by V.T.P. Vinod and R.B. Sashidhar from the Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) at the Department of Atomic Energy and Osmania University, respectively, reports that removing the acetyl part of the gum could also lead to an enhanced gum, with improved thermal stability.

 

“It is worthwhile to note that the molecular mass and intrinsic viscosity of gum kondagogu (native as well as deacetylated form) are much higher than the values reported for the other tree gums such as karaya, tragacanth, arabic and guar gum, that are currently available in the world market,” wrote Vinod and Sashidhar in the journal Food Chemistry.

 

According to Vinod and Sashidhar the gum has several unique physicochemical properties including a high uronic acid content, a hydrogel property, high intrinsic viscosity and molecular mass and porosity.

 

No toxicology concerns

 

A 90-day study in rats by Sashidhar in 2000 reported no toxicity concerns, even at a dose much higher than would be consumed normally for a food additive (Food and Chemical Toxicology, Vol. 38, pp. 523-534).

 

“It can be inferred, based on the present investigations, that gum kondagogu has a potential application as a food additive, similar to gum karaya,” wrote Sashidhar in 2000.

 

Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Published online ahead of print 9 April 2009, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.3568
“Emulsifying properties of gum kondagogu (Cochlospermum gossypium), a natural biopolymer”
Authors: G.M.N. Vegi, R. Sistla, P. Srinivasan, S.R. Beedu, R.K. Khar, P.V. Diwan

 

Source: Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.03.009
“Solution and conformational properties of gum kondagogu (Cochlospermum gossypium) - A natural product with immense potential as a food additive”
Authors: V.T.P. Vinod, R.B. Sashidhar

 

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