Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Food additive: Carrageenan

Carrageenan is a generic term that is used to describe a diverse group of sulphated polysaccharide compounds that are found in the cell wall matrix of red seaweeds. Carrageenan is a hydrocolloid consisting mainly of the ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium sulfate esters of galactose and 3,6-anhydrogalactose polysaccharides.

Carrageenan serves as a substitute for fat, and to thicken nonfat or low-fat foods or dairy replacements. It recreates a fatty “mouthfeel” in products such as low-fat or nonfat dairy (e.g., low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat sour cream) and vegetable-based dairy substitutes (e.g., soy milk, coconut milk).

Due to its textural functionality carrageenan is used widely in food processing primarily to bind water and promote gel formation, to thicken and stabilize structure for food products by binding protein, and to improve palatability.

It is used in a variety of foods, including dairy products, water-dessert gels and confectionery, cooked processed meat products and fish products, beverages, condiments, infant formula, and pet food. It is sometimes injected as a brine in pre-cooked poultry to improve tenderness and maintain juiciness.

Carrageenan is obtained by extraction from seaweed into water or aqueous dilute alkali. Carrageenan may be recovered by alcohol precipitation, by drum drying, or by precipitation in aqueous potassium chloride and subsequent freezing.

Chemically, carrageenan is a high molecular weight sulfated poly-galactan derived from a number of species of red seaweeds of the class Rhodophyceae. It is a polymer of the sugar, galactose, composed of repeating galactose units that may have sulfate groups attached.
Food additive: Carrageenan

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