Gellan gum and xanthan gum are both types of hydrocolloids commonly used in the food industry as thickeners, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are some key differences between the two. In this post, we will explore what sets gellan gum apart from xanthan gum.

Composition and Source:

Gellan gum is a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by the bacterium Sphingomonas elodea. Xanthan gum, on the other hand, is produced through the fermentation of the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris.

Solubility and Viscosity:

One of the primary differences between gellan gum and xanthan 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. Xanthan gum, on the other hand, requires agitation and warm water to dissolve, and its solutions are more viscous than those of gellan gum at similar usage levels.

Gelling Properties:

Another major difference between gellan gum and xanthan 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. In contrast, xanthan gum does not form gels on its own, but it can be used in combination with other ingredients, such as locust bean gum, to create a gel-like texture.

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. Xanthan gum is also stable in a variety of conditions but can be less tolerant of high heat and high acid environments.

Health and Safety:

Both gellan gum and xanthan gum are considered safe for consumption by regulatory agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration. However, xanthan gum is often derived from genetically modified organisms, which may be a concern for some consumers.

In conclusion, while both gellan gum and xanthan 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.