Gellan gum is a versatile and natural hydrocolloid that has gained popularity in the food, beverage, personal care, and industrial industries. In this comprehensive guide to gellan gum, we will explore its unique properties, applications, and benefits, as well as its challenges and tips for use.

Background Information:

Gellan gum is a natural polysaccharide produced by the bacterium Sphingomonas elodea. It was first discovered in the 1970s by microbiologists at the Kelco Company (now part of CP Kelco) in San Diego, California. The gum is produced through bacterial fermentation, and after purification and drying, it becomes a powder. Gellan gum has a unique structure that allows it to form strong, elastic gels.

Properties of Gellan Gum:

Gellan gum has several properties that make it a popular gelling agent, stabilizer, and thickener. It is soluble in hot water and forms a gel when it cools down. Gellan gum has a high melting point, making it suitable for high-temperature processing. It is compatible with a wide range of ingredients and has a low syneresis, meaning it maintains stability over time.

Applications of Gellan Gum:

Gellan gum is widely used in the food and beverage industry to create gummy candies, yogurt, and plant-based milk. It is also used in personal care products, such as shampoo and toothpaste, as a thickener and stabilizer. In industrial applications, gellan gum is used as a gelling agent in oil recovery, wastewater treatment, and more.

Benefits of Gellan Gum:

Gellan gum offers several benefits to formulators, including its ability to create stable gels, compatibility with many ingredients, and versatility. It is also a natural ingredient, making it a desirable choice for clean-label products.

Examples of Products that Contain Gellan Gum:

Gellan gum is used in a variety of food and beverage products, such as plant-based milk, yogurt, and gummy candies. It is also found in personal care products, including toothpaste and shampoo. In industrial applications, it is used as a gelling agent in oil recovery and wastewater treatment.

Challenges of Using Gellan Gum:

Despite its many benefits, gellan gum has some challenges. It is more expensive than other gelling agents, and availability may be limited in some regions. Formulators must take care when working with gellan gum, as it can be difficult to disperse and hydrate.

Tips for Using Gellan Gum:

To achieve the best results when using gellan gum, formulators must disperse and hydrate it correctly. This involves adding the gum to hot water and mixing it until it is fully dispersed. Overheating the gum can cause it to break down and lose its gelling properties.


Gellan gum is a natural, versatile, and valuable ingredient that offers many benefits to formulators across various industries. Understanding its properties, applications, and challenges can help formulators create innovative and high-quality products that meet the needs of their consumers.