Gellan gum and guar gum are both types of hydrocolloids commonly used in the food industry as thickeners and stabilizers. While they may seem similar in terms of their function, there are some key differences between the two. In this post, we will explore what distinguishes gellan gum from guar gum.

Composition and Source:

Gellan gum is a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by the bacterium Sphingomonas elodea. Guar gum, on the other hand, is derived from the seeds of the guar plant, which is native to India and Pakistan.

Solubility and Viscosity:

One of the primary differences between gellan gum and guar gum is their solubility and resulting viscosity. Gellan gum is highly soluble in cold water and can create highly viscous solutions at low concentrations, making it an effective thickener even at low usage levels. In contrast, guar gum requires warm water to dissolve and create viscosity, and its solutions are much less viscous than those of gellan gum at similar usage levels.

Gelling Properties:

Another major difference between gellan gum and guar gum is their gelling properties. Gellan gum can form a wide range of textures, from soft gels to firm, brittle gels, depending on the formulation and processing conditions. Guar gum, on the other hand, does not gel on its own, but it can be used in combination with other ingredients, such as calcium, to form a gel.

Stability and Compatibility:

Gellan gum is highly stable in a wide range of pH levels and can withstand high temperatures and shear forces, making it a versatile ingredient for use in a variety of food products. Guar gum, on the other hand, may be less stable in acidic conditions and can break down at high temperatures or under high shear stress.

Health and Safety:

Both gellan gum and guar gum are considered safe for consumption by regulatory agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration. However, gellan gum is often preferred by some manufacturers because it is produced through microbial fermentation rather than plant-derived sources, which may be subject to variability in composition and quality.

In conclusion, while both gellan gum and guar gum are hydrocolloids used in food applications, they differ significantly in their composition, solubility, gelling properties, stability, and compatibility. The choice of which ingredient to use depends on the specific needs and characteristics of the food product in question.