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  • Carrageenan
  • Alias : carrageenins
  • Classification :  Algae Hydrocolloids
  • Pageviews : 230
  • what is  Carrageenan
  • Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulphated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Their main application is in d
  • Introduction of colloid :
  • Properties

    Carrageenans are large, highly flexible molecules that curl forming helical structures. This gives them the ability to form a variety of different gels at room temperature. They are widely used in the food and other industries as thickening and stabilizing agents.

    There are three main commercial classes of carrageenan:

    1) Kappa forms strong, rigid gels in the presence of potassium ions; it reacts with dairy proteins. It is sourced mainly from Kappaphycus alvarezii.[2]

    2) Iota forms soft gels in the presence of calcium ions. It is produced mainly from Eucheuma denticulatum.[2]

    3) Lambda does not gel, and is used to thicken dairy products.


    There are three types of industrial processing:

    1) Semi-refined

    This is only performed using E. cottonii or E. spinosum. The raw weed is first sorted and crude contaminants are removed by hand. The weed is then washed to remove salt and sand, and then cooked in hot alkali to increase the gel strength. The cooked weed is washed, dried, and milled. E. spinosum undergoes a much milder cooking cycle, as it dissolves quite readily. The product is called semi-refined carrageenan

    2) Refined

    The essential difference in the refining process is that the carrageenan is first dissolved and filtered to remove cell wall debris. The carrageenan is then precipitated from the clear solution either by isopropanol or by potassium chloride.[9]

    3) Mixed processing

    A hybrid technology in which seaweed is treated heterogeneously as in the semirefined process exists, but alcohol or high salt levels are used to inhibit dissolution.

    Uses and applications

    Food and other domestic uses

    1) Desserts, ice cream, cream, milkshakes, yogurts, salad dressings, sweetened condensed milks

    2) Sauces: to increase viscosity

    3) Beer: clarifier to remove haze-causing proteins

    4) Pâtés and processed meats (e.g., ham): substitute for fat, increase water retention, increase volume, or improve slicing

    5) Toothpaste: stabilizer to prevent constituents separating

    6) Fruit Gushers: ingredient in the encapsulated gel

    7) Fire fighting foam: thickener to cause foam to become sticky

    8) Shampoo and cosmetic creams: thickener

    9) Air freshener gels

    10) Marbling: the ancient art of paper and fabric marbling uses a carrageenan mixture on which to float paints or inks; the paper or fabric is then laid on it, absorbing the colours

    11) Shoe polish: to increase viscosity

    12) Biotechnology: to immobilize cells and enzymes

    13) Pharmaceuticals: used as an inactive excipient in pills and tablets

    14) Soy milk and other plant milks: to thicken, in an attempt to emulate the consistency of whole milk

    15) Diet sodas: to enhance texture and suspend flavours

    16) Pet food

    17) Personal lubricants

    18) Vegetarian hot dogs

  • References:
  • 1. FAO Agar and Carrageenan Manual. (1965-01-01). Retrieved on 2011-12-10.

    2. a b [1], FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 441

    3. CyberColloids: E407a Specification Processed Eucheuma Seaweed, Hydrocolloids research and development webpage.

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