Gum Arabic, also known as acacia gum, is a type of gum that is mainly used in many different industries that range from producers of food and beverage, diet foods, pharmaceuticals, confectionery and encapsulated flavors, textile and even inks and paints. It is excreted from the sap of the Acacia Seyal and Acacia Senegal trees, which are abundant in Sudan and the sub-Saharan region. The saps harden to form an oval when it seeps from the tree and hits the air. Sap trappers will then carefully strip pieces of the bark without injuring the tree. Gum Arabic has different names which include gum acacia, chaar gund, meska or char goond. This is usually no odor, color, and taste. This can be sold in the form of pellets, chunks, powder, syrup or oil.
Gum Arabic is considered the oldest gum specie that dates back to about 2,650 (BC). The Acacia Senegal tree is the main source of commercial Gum Arabic and is also the best known gum in terms of quality. Gum Talha, from the Acacia Seyal tree is not approved in the United States and Europe for food use, but it can be used for non-edible products. There are approximately more than 1000 species of Acacia tree that produce gum throughout the world, but most of them are grown in the sub-Sahara zone of Africa, which is known as the gum belt since the countries that are part of this zone are the major producer and exporter of Gum Arabic.
Uses of Gum Arabic
The gum is commonly used in the food industry although there are many different sectors that use Gum Arabic for its chemical components. It serves as a functional ingredient in food products as an emulsifier, humectant, flavoring agent, surface-finishing agent, retards sugar crystallization and thickener. Gum Arabic is used to control viscosity in the pharmaceutical and textile industry. Aside from these, it can also be used with paints and inks for printing.
Gum Arabic in the Future
During the 9th to 12 centuries, Gum Arabic has been sold in African local markets because of its medicinal attributes. It serves as a remedy for the common cold, sore throats, eye issues, bleeding, and stomach and intestinal illness. No wonder the sap is recently being researched and studied if it can help with intestinal dialysis.