Xanthan Gum Uses in Food: 5 Useful Parts You Should Know

Xanthan Gum Uses in Food


What is Xanthan Gum? Xanthan Gum Uses in Food?

Xanthan gum is a pentasaccharide repeating unit consisting of D-glucose, D-mannose, D-glucuronic acid, acetic acid and pyruvic acid. (The molar ratio of glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid is 2.8:3.0:2.0.)

It is made by the fermentation medium containing sugars (such as glucose, sucrose, starch, hydrolyzed starch, etc.), in the presence of suitable nitrogen source, dipotassium hydrogen phosphate and appropriate amount of trace elements, by the action of Xanthomonas campestris strains of wild rape, fermentation, and then after extraction, drying, crushing and other processes. 

It is tasteless, odorless, non-toxic, safe for consumption and easily soluble in water. It is easily soluble in water and has unique physicochemical properties in aqueous solution.

In industrial production, it is mainly used as thickening agent, also can be used as suspension agent, emulsifier, stabilizer. So far, xanthan gum is considered as the most superior biological gum in the international market, and is widely used in food, juice, beverage, feed, make-up, medicine, ceramics, firefighting, petroleum and other industries, and its market growth potential exceeds that of all hydrophilic gums.

xanthan gum uses in food

This article provides an overview of the structure, properties and production of xanthan gum and describes its application in the food industry.

1 Part : Structure

Xanthan gum is a pale white or light beige powder, consisting of five sugar units repeatedly, its main chain is the same as cellulose, that is, composed of glucose linked by β-1,4 glycosidic bonds, three linked monosaccharides form its side chain: mannose - glucose - mannose. The mannose linked to the main chain is usually modified by an acetyl group, the end of the side chain is modified by acetal reaction with pyruvate, and the glucose in the middle is oxidized to glucuronic acid.

Xanthan gum has a regular primary structure, but also has a secondary structure, as determined by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, xanthan gum molecules rely on hydrogen bonding to form a regular helical structure. The double helix structure depends on the weak force between the formation of three-dimensional structure of the network, which is the tertiary structure of xanthan gum, it is in aqueous solution to liquid crystal form.

2 Part : Properties

Xanthan gum, known as "industrial monosodium glutamate", is currently the largest and most widely used microbial polysaccharide in the world. Xanthan gum has the following properties.

2.1 High Viscosity

Xanthan gum is tasteless, odorless, safe and strong, high viscosity, 1% aqueous solution viscosity is equivalent to 100 times of gelatin, which can be used as a good thickening and stabilizing agent.

2.2 Unique Rheology

Under shear, the viscosity of the solution will drop rapidly, and once the shear is lifted, the viscosity of the solution will be restored immediately. This property gives good taste to food such as ice cream, ham sausage, fruit juice, vegetable protein drinks and bakery products. This property also makes xanthan gum widely used in oil drilling and mining.

2.3 Good Thermal Stability

Xanthan gum has good thermal stability and maintains its unique function over a wide temperature range (-18 to 130℃), making it a good excipient for the production of frozen foods and bakery products.

2.4 Acid/Alkali Stability

Its viscosity is basically unaffected by acid and alkali, and it can maintain its original properties within the range of pH value 1 to 12, which makes it have a wide range of applications.

2.5 Strong Antioxidant and Anti-Enzymatic Effect

Even in the presence of sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide and bioactive enzymes, it can still play a role.

2.6 Has A Wide Range Of Phase Solubility

The mixture with guar gum and locust bean gum can produce beneficial synergistic effects. This structural gum can produce gelation under certain conditions.

2.7 Stable Thickening System

With high concentrations of salts, sugar coexistence, it still maintains a stable thickening system.

2.8 Good Suspension

Good suspension of insoluble solid particles and oil droplets.

2.9 Microwave Stability

Even thawing in the microwave oven will not affect the performance of the stable system that has been formed.

2.10 Good Compatibility

Good compatibility with salts, acids and bases, and good reactivity with galactomannan.

3 Part : Production

3.1 Strains Used For Xanthan Gum Production

The strains used in the production of xanthan gum is xanthomonas genus several species, the current industrial production of strains of bacteria is mainly the black rot of cabbage xanthomonas, in addition to rapeseed xanthomonas, mallow xanthomonas and carrot xanthomonas can also be used as fermentation strains.

The production of xanthan gum is influenced by the composition of culture medium, medium conditions (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, etc.), type of reactor, mode of operation (continuous or intermittent) and other factors.

The strain can be grown at 25℃~30℃, the most suitable fermentation temperature is 28℃, and researchers have proposed specific equations for the relationship between temperature and growth rate.

3.2 Extraction Of Xanthan Gum

In comparison, the cost of recovering the product from the fermentation broth is high. In general, the components of the final fermentation broth are: xanthan gum: 10-30L, cells: 1-10g/L, residual nutrients 3-10L, and other metabolites.

Due to the presence of high concentrations of xanthan gum, the concentration of the solution is large, thus increasing the difficulty of the extraction operation, therefore, it is appropriate to do dilution first. The main steps of the extraction are the precipitation of intercalated cells, the precipitation of xanthan gum, dehydration, drying, and grinding.

4 Part : Xanthan Gum Uses in Food

Xanthan gum as a food additive has been accepted by many countries. It has become an important stabilizer, suspending agent, emulsifier, thickener, binder and high value-added, high quality processing material in beverage, pastry, jelly, canned food, seafood and meat products processing and other fields. It can be summarized as follows.

4.1 Acid And Salt Resistant Food Thickening Stabilizers

xanthan gum in food

It is used in various juice drinks, concentrated juice, seasonings (such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, salad dressing) of food.

The stabilizing effect of xanthan gum is obviously better than other gum, has strong thermal stability, general high temperature sterilization will not have an impact on it, can be used in all kinds of fruit juice drinks, fruit drinks, plant protein drinks, etc, dosage 0.08 ~ 0.3%.

Xanthan gum excellent salt, acid and alkali resistance can completely replace the traditional thickening agent - starch in soy sauce, can overcome the shortcomings of starch precipitation, and can make soy sauce fine uniformity, improve the wall and coloring, and extend the shelf life.

The use of xanthan gum as a thickening stabilizer in jam, bean paste, and other flavor-modifying sauces makes the sauce uniform and easy to fill without lumping, and improves the taste.

4.2 Food emulsifiers

xanthan gum in drinks

It can be used as emulsifier in various protein drinks and dairy drinks to prevent oil and water stratification, improve protein stability and prevent protein precipitation, as well as use its emulsifying ability as foaming agent and foam stabilizer, such as for beer manufacturing.

After adding 0.02% xanthan gum to the soy protein-based emulsification system, the emulsifiability is significantly improved and the mixed system has high shear rate and heat-induced high viscosity characteristics.

4.3 Food fillings

xanthan gum uses

As a stable high viscosity filler, it can be widely used in the processing of various kinds of snacks, bread, biscuits, candy and other food products.

Under the premise of not changing the traditional flavor of the food, it can make the food have better shape preservation, longer shelf life and better taste, which is conducive to the diversification and industrial scale production of these foods.

In the production of all kinds of frozen food, xanthan gum has the function of preventing water loss, delaying aging and prolonging shelf life.

4.4 Food emulsion stabilizers

xanthan gum in ice cream

As an emulsion stabilizer used in frozen food, xanthan gum can adjust the viscosity of the mixture in ice cream and ice-cream to make it have uniform and stable composition, and the organization is smooth and soft.

As the viscosity of xanthan gum has plasticity and shear property according to the temperature, the viscosity decreases and the resistance decreases during the processing operation, which is favorable for the process; while during the cooling and aging stage, the viscosity is restored, which is favorable to increase the expansion rate and prevent the formation of large ice crystals in the ice cream and make the ice cream taste lubricious and delicate.

At the same time, it improves the freeze-thaw stability of the product, and the cream and water are evenly mixed when melting, so there is no slurry separation phenomenon.

The general aging time is 2~3h, dosage is 0.2%~0.4%.

4.5 Food Binders

xanthan gum ice cream

Xanthan gum is used to cross-link water-soluble powders such as sodium fucoidan, casein, methylcellulose and polyethylene glycol cellulose sodium salts to form a binder.

This binder is used in food processing to improve texture and increase film-forming properties.

This property of xanthan gum can be used to produce granular pastes. Compared with traditional pastes, pastes made with xanthan gum have less dispersion, high uniformity and solubility, good fluidity and filling properties, and excellent solid conservation due to the lack of cohesion.

4.6 Application of xanthan gum in specific food processes

xanthan gum in noodles

4.6.1 The effect of xanthan gum on the quality of noodles

(1) Xanthan gum has a tendency to strengthen and then weaken the gluten, and the effect on the water-holding capacity will affect other indicators of gluten.

(2) Xanthan gum has a good effect on the improvement of powder properties and a weakening effect on tensile properties.

(3) Xanthan gum has little effect on the swelling potential of starch, and the starting gelatinization temperature of flour decreases regularly, and the peak viscosity is greatest when the added amount of gum is 0.2%.

(4) Xanthan gum has a good effect on the cooking characteristics, with the increase of the proportion of gum, the cooking characteristics of the indexes decreased.

(5) The addition of gum increases the hardness, adhesion, chewiness, adhesion and elasticity of noodles, and reduces the adhesion and recovery of noodles compared with the blank.

xanthan gum in beef

4.6.2 The effect of xanthan gum on the Quality Improvement of beef

Xanthan gum improves water retention of beef based on two main aspects.

One is that xanthan gum itself is a hydrophilic colloid, and its penetration into beef tissues enhances the muscle's ability to hold water.

Secondly, the water retention of meat can be shown by the gelatinous structure of proteins and electrostatic interactions, in which myosin, the muscle structural protein, plays a decisive role in water retention.

pH is an important parameter for measuring beef quality. It not only affects the palatability, tenderness, cooking loss and shelf life, but also has a significant correlation with water-holding capacity, meat color and flavor.

When the muscle pH is close to its protein isoelectric point (5.0-5.5), the meat has the greatest mechanical strength, less tenderness and less water retention.

Production usually requires that the pH of the meat deviate from its isoelectric point.

Soaking beef in xanthan gum solution increases the pH of the muscle, so the addition of xanthan gum will help improve the water retention and texture quality of the beef.

Tenderness is a function of the maximum shear force of the beef, and the lower the shear force, the more tender the beef is. Therefore, a xanthan gum soaking solution of 0.5% improves the tenderness of beef.

The reason for this may be that xanthan gum chelates Ca2+, which may induce Ca2+ transfer from muscle cells into the muscle plasma, thereby activating calcium-activating enzymes in the muscle plasma, promoting the hydrolysis of muscle proteins, resulting in the disintegration of the z-strand in the structure of muscle fibers until it disappears, as well as the disruption of muscle segments and the fragmentation of myofibrils, thereby tenderizing the muscle.

5 Part : Conclusion

The aqueous solution of xanthan gum has unique rheological properties - shear thinning, as the shear rate increases, the apparent viscosity of the solution decreases significantly.

It has viscosity building properties, with greater viscosity at lower concentrations.

It has good water solubility, stability to heat and acids and alkalis, and good compatibility with many salts.


These many characteristics make it significantly improve the texture, taste and appearance of food by controlling the rheological behavior of the product, and improve its commercial value, so it has a very wide application prospect in food.   

Hope this article could help you know more about Xanthan Gum Uses in Food.

Xanthan Gum In Food

As one of the professional xanthan gum suppliers, exporters in China, Gino is dedicated to supplying superior xanthan gum and customized food stabilizers from reliable manufacturers. We can offer high quality xanthan gum products and tailor-made solutions perfectly matched to your needs. 

Gino is your premier xanthan gum supplier who works directly with you to provide customized solutions.

Any Questions? Need Help?

Contact Gino Gums & Stabilizers, Get the Answers to All Your Texture & Stability Questions
Scroll to Top

Get The Exclusive

News, Resources

More about what you'll get from our newsletter!

  • Technical papers, articles and videos on food texture and stability;
  • The newest food trends, consumer demands and texture innovation;
  • The right food gums & stabilizers system that solves your challenge;
  • A team that can handle the complexity and help you formulate products;
  • Supplier selection criteria and methods and other purchasing skills.

Subscribe to Find the Secret to Connecting a Better and Healthier Life!