Gum derived from cress seed could have thickener potential

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gums, Emulsion, Xanthan gum, Food hydrocolloids

Cress seed gum (CSG) could be an interesting and promising thickener in food formulations, finds a new study from Iran.

Given the hike in demand for hydrocolloids and their pricing volatility of late, particularly in relation to guar gum, the food industry is actively on the lookout for new sources of stabilizers and emulsifiers.

And Lepidium sativum​ seed gum (garden cress seed) is a potential hydrocolloid substitute, said the Iranian food scientists.

Writing in the journal Food Hydrocolloids, ​the team said the results of a study they conducted indicates that CSG is heat stable in all functional properties and the gum, suggest the authors, could be employed in industrial food processes involving high temperature such as cooking, pasteurization and sterilization.

L. sativum​ is an annual herb belonging to the Cruciferae family, which grows widely in the Middle East, Europe and US. Its seeds, said the authors, absorb water quickly when soaked in water and produce a large amount of mucilaginous substances and a gum of high-molecular weight.

Hydrocolloids, such as water soluble gums, have many functional properties tht make them useful in food applications with the ability to impart the required quality in terms of stability, texture and appearance.

Plant hydrocolloids are long chain, high molecular weight, polymers that dissolve or disperse in water to give a thickening, stabilising or gelling effect – examples of such hydrocolloids are gaur gum, gum arabic, and xanthan gum.

Emulsion and foaming attributes

Comparing xanthan gum (XG) and cress seed gum, the Iranian authors found that CSG presented lower viscosity than XG, but showed ‘desirable’ rheological, emulsifying and foaming properties.

“When the hydrocolloid samples were heated, an irreversible increase in viscosity of cress seed gum solutions was observed and as a result, the emulsification and foaming properties improved,” ​said a team led by Seyed Razabi from the Food Hydrocolloids Research Centre at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

CSG had high emulsifying capacity value (92%) at 25 C that was comparable to xanthan emulsifying capacity value, report the researchers.

The effects of CSG on foaming properties in food systems, they added, are comparable with xanthan gum.

But the hydrocolloid specialists said further investigation is required in order to fully understand the potential of cress seed derived gum.

Source: Food Hydrocolloids
Title:Effect of thermal treatments on functional properties of cress seed (Lepidium sativum) and xanthan gums: A comparative study
Published online ahead of print: .doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2011.11.012
Authors: S. Naji, S. Razavi, H Karazhiyan

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