Modification of Natural Gums
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Modification of Natural Gums book
A wide variety of gums are produced by both plants and microbes. These polysaccharides have numerous functions for the organism including structural support, food storage, adhesives for attachment, and protection against desiccation. They display a range of properties which also make many of them valuable commercial commodities. Cellulose and starch, as well as their many derivatives, make up the bulk of the commercial gums because of both availability and low cost. However, other natural gums exhibit properties which are not duplicated by either starch or cellulose products. Guar, locust bean, alginate, tamarind and xanthan are examples of gums which have unique structures and components that produce solutions with distinctive rheological and chemical characteristics. Modification of these gums can create polymers with desirable properties for selected industrial applications. The technology used to modify these gums is similar to that used to alter more common polysaccharides.