Food Applications of Plant Exudates
Originally, the term “gum” referred to all types of natural plant exudates, including those that are not water-soluble such as chicle, latex and resins. is is the origin of the erroneous use of the word gum for resins that are used on a regular basis in the chemical and paint industries (Glicksmam, 1969). Many plant gum exudates are known all over the world; however only four of them (arabic, ghatti, karaya and tragacanth) are of real importance to the food industry. Many other locally known exudates are used to a limited extent, sometimes as substitutes for the four main exudates due to their analogous properties which render them suitable for similar applications (Glicksman, 1969). However, many of these exudates have not been granted generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status. GRAS is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designation validating that a chemical or substance is considered safe as a food additive by experts. Many such unapproved exudates contain tannins or other ingredients that can be health hazards.