Guar gum start out as Guar seeds. Guar gum is the final farm products from guar crops. The seeds are separated from the crops using gravitational force. These seeds are then processed to make guar gum splits. It is then these splits are grounded until they become the final powdered form. This powder is called Guar Gum Powder that has extensive applications throughout various industry verticals. The uses of Guar gum powder range from food to pharmaceutical manufacturers, it has extensive applications in textile and paper manufacturing, even cosmetic and printing industries. It should not come as a surprise that guar gum powder is used in appropriate quantities in our ice creams, sauces, gravies, breakfast cereals, even our vegetable juices. But it is not as simple as it sounds, it takes a lot of complicated processes to give our ice cream and sauces the right kind of consistencies and textures. Let’s take a look at the process and try to understand how guar gum gives our yogurt the right creamy consistency.
As stated above, Guar gum manufacturers produce it from splits which are derived from Guar seeds. In other words, guar gum splits are the endosperm separated from its seeds. The Guar bean plant can be found extensively in India, Pakistan, U.S., Australia and Africa. Alone India and Pakistan produce about 80% of the entire world’s Guar gum. This is because India has the perfect conditions for cultivating Guar in the state of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana as this plant grows in semi-arid regions but requires frequent rainfall. These plants are harvested and then the pods are dried in sunlight and the guar seeds are manually separated from the pods. These high quality seeds are then processed and split to remove the germs from them. Depending on the quality of the seed, it yields 28-30% of refined split. The rest of the seed extract includes Churi and Kurma which are high in protein content and are used for cattle feed.
Guar gum splits are extracted from the seeds by a mechanical process. The resulting product is then sent for wet-milling where the seeds are grinded until they become fine particles or in powder form. It is this powder that is called guar gum powder or only Guar gum.
Guar gum, produced by grinding guar gum splits, are used as a food additive that are found throughout the food supply. Technically speaking it is a type of polysaccharide, or long chain of carbohydrate molecules that are bonded together. In simple words, guar gum is low in calories is high in soluble fibre and has amazing thickening and gelling properties. These properties of guar gum makes it especially indispensable in the food manufacturing industry where they need to achieve consistencies, viscosity and textures across a wide range of spectrums. Guar gum has amazing water solubility and can bind with water very well. It shows excellent resistance to oils, solvents and various greases. Guar gum is a very versatile product that has a number of free hydroxyl group and hence it can be used with other hydrocolloids in food formulations to specifically suit a requirement. It has incredible thickening properties and is an impeccable gelling agent. Owing to all these properties of Guar gum, it is only natural that the dominant demand for guar gum comes from the food manufacturing industry.
The thickening properties of guar gum have made it an ideal choice as an additive in products like puddings and ice creams. Globally, Guar gum is used extensively to make baked goods, dairy products, sauces, salad dressings, ketchups, dry soups, instant meals, and even canned foods. Nutritionally, guar is a low calorie product that is very high on fiber content. Therefore, it helps with regular bowel movements and relieving constipation.
Apart from having numerous applications in the food industry, guar gum powder is also used in oil drilling applications. Surprisingly the same stuff that gives our yogurt its creamy consistency is the same thing that helps drill out oil. Oil drilling and other industrial processes that require an agent with quick hydration and immediate terminal viscosity; guar gum has become invaluable to them.
In short, Guar gum has all the properties that we require in a number of our applications. This has made guar gum a very crucial part of our everyday lives. From our ice creams to oil drilling, guar gum is vital to all the important pillars of modern society and our way of life.