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Hydrocolloids- widely used thickening agents in food

Hydrocolloids- widely used thickening agents in food

by Advance in Organics

Derived from the Greek words hydro and kola meaning water and glue, hydrocolloids improve the shelf life and quality attributes by widely being used in many food formulations. These are used mainly as thickening and gelling agents. You can find this being used in gravies, soups, toppings, salad dressings and sauces as thickening agents, while gelling agents is found to be used in products like jelly, jam, calorie gels/low sugar, restructured foods and marmalade.

Texture and viscosity

These are heterogeneous group of polysaccharides and proteins (long chain polymers) that are characterized by their property of gels dispersed in water or formation of viscous dispersions. Their ability to transform the rheology of food system is the reason behind the extensive use of hydrocolloids in food. There are two basic properties of food system. These include viscosity (flow behavior) and texture (mechanical solid property). The modification of these properties of food system helps in the transformation of its sensory properties. This is why hydrocolloids are important food additives that are used to perform specific purposes.

Functional properties in foods

The wide array of functional properties in foods that hydrocolloids have includes gelling, stabilization, thickening, controlling and emulsifying the crystal growth of sugar and ice. A thickening or viscosity effect is produced when hydrocolloids disperses in water. This property of water thickening is usual to all hydrocolloids and is the foremost reason for its overall use. The types of gelling hydrocolloids are pectin, gelatin, alginate, agar, carrageenan and gellan.

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