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Carrageenan - food additive, which today can be found in the composition of a variety of products. However, it may appear as a part of the ingredients under various names: actually carrageenan, one of carrageenan salts, such as potassium, sodium or ammonium, or a food additive E407. What is she doing?
Production of carrageenan
Carrageenan is a natural product that is made of the special red seaweed belonging to the family Rhodophyceae. They exist in almost all seas, but their industrial sites to collect most of the warm waters are chosen because there they multiply fastest Thus, the collection of carrageenan is carried out in areas of the Philippines, Indonesia, Chile and other tropical countries.
For use in the food industry are different types of carrageenan, and a total of a family of more than 3,000 species of algae. When this is used, of course, not the algae, and extracted from them substances called sulfated polysaccharides. To retrieve their original feedstock boiled in an alkaline solution and then the resulting gel is dried and pulverized. Thus formed carrageenan raw materials for use in the food industry.
The use of carrageenan
Methods of use of carrageenan in the manufacture of food products are very diverse and depend on its chemical composition. So, technologists are three main groups of substances: the first of them - the kappa-carrageenan, which are solid gels that are used for the production of dairy products. Second - iota-carrageenan, ie soft gels which are used in the dairy, meat and other industries. Finally, the third group - Lambda carrageenans: Most liquid substances in comparison with the above, which are used, for example, in the manufacture of sauces. Thus, based on these gels algae contain animal proteins, can therefore be consumed by people who avoid it, such as vegetarians.
In addition to the food industry, carrageenan used in the manufacture of various personal care and household products. For example, it is often included in a toothpaste, gels and body hair and other products.
However, some types of substances are harmful to the human body with regular use. For example, it is proved that degraded carrageenan causes serious gastrointestinal disease, therefore it is practically not used in food production. In the European countries in the manufacture of infant food forbidden to use any types of Carrageenan.
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