CP Kelco targets quality & processing benefits with next generation xanthan

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

A new xanthan gum with enhanced hydration rates could boost production throughputs, streamline processes, and correct batch errors, says the CP Kelco scientist behind the innovative ingredient.

Speaking with FoodNavigator-USA during a recent visit to CP Kelco’s San Diego-based Innovation Center, Ross Clark, distinguished research fellow, explained that the advanced performance of the new xanthan gum, Keltrol AP, offers considerable advantages for processing, which will ultimately lead to cost savings.

“People don’t think about striation, powder flow, dust, and so on, said Ross, but these have big impacts on processing,” ​said Ross.

While the new xanthan is priced higher than standard xanthan, the ingredient can hydrate in half the time of typical xanthan gums, as well as under acidic conditions. Such functionality would enable food manufacturers to produce more batches per shift, significantly reduce processing times, and give a more consistent final product, said Ross.

A global view

Xanthan gum is a versatile hydrocolloid that is used as a thickener in a wide range of food products including sauces, soups, dressings, beverages, baked goods, desserts and beverages. A polysaccharide, it is produced by fermentation of corn sugar using the Xanthomonas Campestris ​bacteria.

Xanthan prices have been declining in the face of Chinese competition. Indeed, two Chinese companies, Deosen and Fufeng, have emerged as strong leaders in the last 10 years and are battling it out to be the Chinese number 1. In 2004, xanthan exports from China were 12,500 tonnes and Fufeng was not yet on the scene. Last year, exports were up to 46,000 tonnes.

A report from CyberColloids​ last year, however, noted that the quality of the Chinese products does need to improve.

And this is where Ross Clark and CP Kelco have made a stand. “Our response to the competition is to make a better xanthan gum,” ​said Clark. “CP Kelco has the history and legacy to be able to respond”

Advanced performance xanthan

According to the company, Keltrol AP can hydrate two to three times faster than typical xanthan gum in tap water, and up to ten times faster when salt levels are increased in the solution. The ingredient even hydrates in the presence of acid, said Ross. Indeed, hydration is observed in media such as 40 percent sugar/4 per cent salt, and 3 percent citric acid.

In terms of viscosity, the new xanthan is “roughly double that of standard xanthan”​, said Ross.

The company's stance on xanthan gum quality is a "test case"​, said Ross. In the face of increased price pressure from Chinese suppliers, Ross sees the new ingredient as an evolution in quality in xanthan gum.

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