Gum Arabic is a gum formed from the sap of Acacia trees, which grow in Somalia and produces grade 1 Gum Arabic.
Gum Arabic is used as a food additive in sauces and dressings, functioning as an emulsifier, stabiliser and thickening agent. In dry packaged goods such as soups, instant drinks and dessert mixes, Gum Arabic improves dispersion when added to a liquid and helps to encapsulate and protect flavours, extending shelf-life. In baking, it is used in icing, fillings and edible glitter for cakes. In beverages, Gum Arabic acts as an emulsifier and stabiliser of oil-water emulsions, a thickener in dairy products, and a clouding agent in other liquids. It is also a foam stabiliser in carbonated soft drinks and a clarifying agent in the production of alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer, as well as acting as a texture improver in winemaking.
Gum Arabic is used as an ingredient in chocolate candies, gumdrops, marshmallows and chewing gum. It functions as a glazing agent to coat chocolate products thanks to its film forming ability, and also acts as a barrier coating to separate sugar and fat. Gum Arabic helps to retard crystallisation in high sucrose confections and emulsifies oils and fats used as flavourings. In addition, it is used as a flavour carrier, imparting a clean, long-lasting fresh taste in chewing gum. In soft, chewy candies, Gum Arabic enables the product to be chewed for a longer period without sticking to the teeth. It is used in higher concentrations in reduced calorie soft candies. Gum Arabic is also used in anti-cariogenic (anti-tooth decay) candies since it is resistant to degradation by micro-organisms in the mouth.
Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Industry
Gum Arabic is used as a dietary supplement, including high fibre powders and drinks, and may have some prebiotic properties. It is also an ingredient in cough syrups and is used as an excipient coating for tablets and capsules. In addition, it may promote wound healing and act as a demulcent, relieving inflammation or irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth by forming a protective film and reducing dental plaque.
Gum Arabic is used as a binder, emulsifier and suspending (viscosity increasing) agent in facemasks, skin creams, hair creams and other lotions.
Gum Arabic is used as a binding agent in incense.
Textile & Leather Industry
Gum Arabic is used to coat textiles and as an ingredient in leather shoe polish.
In the Printing industry, Gum Arabic is used in lithography for both traditional stones and aluminium plates. The positive part of the image is etched using an oil-based (hydrophobic or water-repelling) substance, while the negative image remains water-retaining (hydrophilic). When a solution of Gum Arabic in water is applied to the plate, the gum sticks to the non-oily surface, ensuring that the oil-based ink only adheres to the positive image. Gum Arabic also acts as a viscosity control in inks and is used in paint production. In addition, it forms an edible glue used as an adhesive for postage stamps, envelopes and cigarette papers.