Guar gum is a gel-forming hydrocolloid obtained from the endosperm of the guar plant seed. It is a soluble dietary fiber, fat replacer and an effective additive in gluten free food products.
Common uses of guar gum in the food industry are based on its properties:
Guar gum is derived from the Cyamopsis tetragonoloba plant, a member of the Leguminosae family. The domesticated species has been cultivated for centuries in India and Pakistan for human consumption and animal feed. Guar gum production in the United States was developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Mainly, as a replacement to locust bean gum in the textile and paper manufacturing.1
Currently, India accounts for 80% of the global guar gum production with the United States and China are the main importing countries.
Functional attributes of guar gum include:
Thickening: its superior thickening power is a result of the galactomannan’s entanglement which restricts water movement
Emulsifying: guar’s high solubility and rapid hydration in cold water is critical for its emulsion stabilizing ability
Mouthfeel: texture improvement provides imparts a characteristic mouthfeel to food products
Water binding: reduces the water available for the proliferation of microorganisms
Retards staling: a result of reducing the availability of water for starch gelatinization
Fat replacement: partial or total substitution
Guar gum consists mainly of polysaccharides in the form of galactomannan (73-86.7%), protein (3-6%), crude fiber (1-4%) and fat (0.5-1 %). Health benefits of this gum are mainly due to the galactomannan component which has been associated with reduced blood glucose and insulin concentration in diabetic patients. Other benefits include its use as a therapeutic agent for treating hyperlipidemia and obesity.3
Guar gum is commercially obtained through the following process:
Cleaning: guar seeds are removed from pods and cleaned
Splitting: seeds are broken mechanically and germ is separated from the endosperm
Hull removal: to form guar splits
Hydration and milling: splits are hydrated and milled into a powder
Blending: milled particles are blended to meet particle size specifications
Guar gum has several applications in baked goods including its role as a stabilizer, thickener, emulsifier and fat replacer. Its functional performance is enhanced when combined with other polysaccharides, mainly xanthan gum.
Following is a summary of the impact of guar gum on baked goods:
Mudgil, D. “Guar Gum: Processing, Properties And Food Applications—A Review”. Journal Of Food Science And Technology, vol 51, no. 3, 2011, pp. 409-418. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1007/s13197-011-0522-x. Accessed 5 May 2020.
Caballero, B., Luiz C. Trugo, and Paul M. Finglas. Encyclopedia of food sciences and nutrition. Academic, 2003, pp 3012 – 3021.
Baines, D, and R Seal. Natural Food Additives, Ingredients And Flavourings. 1st ed., Woodhead Publishing, 2012, pp. 175-196.
Grumezescu, A. and Holban, A.M.(Eds). Biopolymers For Food Design. 1st ed., Academic Press. Elsevier Inc., 2018, pp. 392-394.
Roller, S., and S. Jones (Eds). Handbook Of Fat Replacers. 2nd ed., CRC Press LLC., 1996, pp. 203-204.