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  • Agar
  • Alias : agar-agar;kanten
  • Classification :  Algae Hydrocolloids
  • Pageviews : 277
  • what is  Agar
  • Also known as kanten, agar agar is derived from a bright red sea vegetable with the botanical name of Geleidium purpurascens. An excellent gelling agent and thickener in many processed foods, agar agar has recently attracted avant garde chefs due to its f
  • Introduction of colloid :
  • Agar is used primarily for its gelling properties, the wide difference between gelation temperature and gel-melting temperature, and the heat resistance of its gels. It is also used for its emulsifying and stabilizing properties. It is practically indigestible.

    Food Industry

    Agar is used as a stabilizer in cookies, cream shells, piping gels, pie fillings, shiffon pies, icings, and meringues as an anti-tackiness ingredient. Agar has been used with success as an anti-staling agent in breads and cakes. Agar is useful in low-calorie, non-starch breads, biscuits, and desserts as a non-nutritive bulking agent.

    Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings, and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. Sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables are then added and the liquid is poured into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer in a cake

    Agar-agar is an allowed nonorganic/nonsynthetic additive used as a thickener, gelling agent, texturizer, moisturizer, emulsifier, flavor enhancer, and absorbent in certified organic foods.[1]

    Pharmaceutical Industry

    Agar has been used as a laxative since it forms a smooth, nonirritating bulk. In addition, it is not habit forming. It is also used as a suspending agent for barium sulfate in radiology, in slow release capsules, suppositories, surgical lubricants, emulsions, as a carrier of topical medicaments. In prosthetic dentistry, Agar is used to make accurate negative casts of teeth, sockets, and entire edentulous gums in order to form accurate artifacts.


    An agar plate or Petri dish is used to provide a growth medium using a mix of agar and other nutrients in which microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, can be cultured and observed under the microscope. Agar is indigestible for many organisms so that microbial growth does not affect the gel used and it remains stable. Agar is typically sold commercially as a powder that can be mixed with water and prepared similarly to gelatin before use as a growth medium. Other ingredients are added to the agar to meet the nutritional needs of the microbes. Many specific formulations are available, because some microbes prefer certain environmental conditions over others. Agar is often dispensed using a sterile media dispenser.

    Other uses

    Agar is used:

    As an impression material in dentistry.

    As a medium to orient and pre-embed small specimens for histopathology processing[2]

    To make salt bridges and gel plugs for use in electrochemistry.

    In formicariums as a transparent substitute for sand and a source of nutrition.

    As a natural ingredient to form modelling clay for young children to play with.

    As an allowed biofertilizer component in organic farming.[3]

    Gelidium agar is used primarily for bacteriological plates. Gracilaria agar is used mainly in food applications.

  • References:
  • 1. Agar-agar Review Sheet, USDA Organic Materials Review, April 1995.

    2. about agar pre-embedding in histopathology .

    3. Integrated Organic Farming Handbook, H. Panda, ASIA PACIFIC BUSINESS PRESS Inc., Oct 4, 2013

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