Carrageenan(E407), or carrageenin, is hydrophilic polysaccharide polymers extracted from red seaweeds. It is one of three greatest seaweed gel products (Agar, carrageenan and alginate) in the world, which has high economic value.
This odorless and tasteless food additive looks like white or yellow brown translucent plates or powder outwardly with shrinkage in the slightly glossy surface. And it also has good elasticity taste.
The gel form of carrageenans(E407) is thermally reversible, which means heating can turn them back into liquid. The food industry widely uses carrageenan due to its good characteristics of water retention, thickening, emulsibility, gelling and safe.
The Structure of Carrageenan (E407)
Carrageenans are polysaccharide polymers made up of repeating galactose units and 3,6 anhydrogalactose (3,6-AG). Although the majority of carrageenans manufactured and used are Kappa-carrageenan, Iota-carrageenan and Lambda-carrageenan. Kappa-carrageenan is the most common one.
Chemical Characteristics of Carrageenan
Become semisolid transparent gel in cold water; undissolving in cold water or organic solvent; dissolving in hot water and turn translucent colloidal solution.
Generate thermo reversible gel in the presence of kalium ion.
Low viscous sol formed at low concentration, close to newtonian fluid; high viscous sol formed at high concentration, close to non-newtonian fluid.
More prone to hydrolysis at low PH, lose viscosity and gel strength at low PH
Have synergetic effect with locust bean gum, konjac glucomannan and xanthan gum and so on to improve water retention and springiness of gel.
The Application of Carrageenan in Food Industry
Caraggenan’s good characteristics of water retention, thickening, emulsibility, gelling make it widely used in dairy products, meat products, ice-cream, juice, jelly and bread etc. At the same time it is possible to compound carrageenan into jelly powder, soft sweets powder, pudding powder and vegetarian gelatin powder ect.
The application of carageenan has close relationship to its rheological property. Therefore, it is important to grasp the rheological property precisely and the change rules in various conditions for safety and high effective production.
Carageenan, as a common gelling agent, can take place of agar, gelatin and pectin. Different from agar, gelatin and pectin, carageenan made jelly has high resilience, relative high solidifying and melting point.
In the transparent fruit fudge production, carageenan made fudge is fruity full-bodied, natural pure flavor attractive, flexible and non-stick advantages. Furthermore, it has the higher transparency and cheaper price than agar’s.