Gum Arabic

What is Gum Arabic?

Gum arabic or gum acacia is a tree exudate obtained from the stems and branches of Acacia senegal.

Gum arabic consists mainly of high molecular weight polysaccharides and their magnesium, calcium and potassium salts which of hydrolysis yield galactose, arabinose, glucuronic acid and rhamnose. Gum arabic is a purely vegetable product and harmless edible biopolymer. Gum Arabic from Acacia seyal is sometimes referred to as Talha.

Other name – acacia gum, gum acacia, arabic gum, acacia, indian guma and senegal gum

Density 1.35-1.49
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass ≈ 0.25×106
Boiling Point > 250ºC
Melting Point 0 – 100oC

The name “gum arabic” was derived from the shipping of this gum to Europe from Arabian ports in former times. Although “Arabic” deserves to be capitalized, and “gum Arabic” is often encountered, “gum arabic” is the predominant spelling.

Gum Arabic Structure


Gum arabic

Gum Arabic Structure


Physical Properties of Gum Arabic

Odour Odourless
Appearance Glassy appearance
pH 4.5
Emulsifying properties 30%
Solubility The solubility in water is 43–48%

Uses of Gum Arabic

  • Used more generous than glair, if a little sugar or honey is put into it to keep it from becoming brittle.
  • The use of gum produces a more transparent effect than that of glair, the colour tends to be laid more thinly and to appear richer and darker.
  • Used as a basic ingredient of familiar foods such as chewing gum, marshmallows and liquorice.
  • In brewing, it is used as a foam stabilizer and agent to promote adhesion of foam to glass.
  • Used as a clarity stabilizer in the chemical treatment of wines.
  • Gum syrup or gum is widely used by professional bartenders in preparing some cocktails is essentially sugar water with the addition of gum arabic for extra body and a pleasing “mouth feel”.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gum arabic used for?

In the food industry, gum arabic is used as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickener in baking, filling, soft candy, chewing gum and other confectionery and for binding the sweeteners and flavourings in soft drinks.

Does gum arabic dissolve in water?

Gum arabic contains galactose, arabinose, glucuronic acid, and rhamnose. In hot and cold water, gum arabic is fully soluble, giving a viscous solution. Heating up a gum arabic solution to the boiling point, however, will make it darken and change its adhesion properties.

What are the side effects of gum arabic?

They reported allergic reactions. Reported adverse effects in clinical trials include unpleasant mouth sensation, early morning nausea, moderate diarrhoea, and bloating.

Why is it called gum arabic?

Gum arabic is a complex mixture of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. This is the original source of ribose and arabinose sugars, both of which have been first found and derived from it, and are also named after it. This gum arabic is primarily used as a stabilizer in the food industry.

Which biomolecule is gum arabic?

Gum Arabic is a normal branched-chain multi-functional hydrocolloid with a complex of calcium, magnesium, and potassium that is strongly neutral or mildly acidic, arabinogalactan-proteins.

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