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Information @ a Glance

General 
  • Locust bean gum - also called Carob bean gum and Carubin - is extracted from the seeds of the carob trees (Ceratonia siliqua kernels), which grow in Mediterranean countries. Locust bean gum can act as a thickener in cold liquids like xanthan gum. When mixed with a little bit of water and stirred into boiling liquids, it can also form temperature-stable gels. Locust bean gum works for a wide range of pH-values and under otherwise critical salt/ion contents. During freezing, locust bean gum retards ice crystal growth and gives a better mouth-feeling to frozen products.

Preparation

  • Carob pods were crushed mechanically in a blender and then sieved to separate the polymer from its outer shell and from the embryo. The polymer was washed with water and 500 mL of water was added. This mixture was heated for 30 min to 70 C while being spinning at 500 rpm. The obtained solution was added slowly to 2 L of absolute ethanol and mixed for 10 min at room temperature. The precipitated polymer was filtered using a sieve (0.160 mm), separated into small pieces and dried at room temperature. Finally, it was dried in a vacuum oven at 50 C and 2666 Pa for 8 h 10.

Applications

  • The seeds are the source of carob gum or locust bean gum, used as an additive by food processors in confections, frozen desserts, gelatin salads, party dips, salad dressings, and sauces as a stabilizer and thickening agent. It is used in baked goods to improve texture and extend shelf life and stabilize pie fillings and meringues; in dairy products to prevent separation of fats, solids, and water, and impart smoothness and richness with only traces of calories; in meat products as stabilizers and thickeners; and to give meat like texture to vegetable protein analogs.

  • Locust bean gum is used in a range of different food systems as a stabiliser or thickening agent and in certain gel systems as a texture modifier.

  • The paper industry used to be the biggest consumer of locust bean gum and its derivatives, but its use in this field has diminished considerably. It was added during the paper-making process to improve the physical characteristics of the paper.

Market

  • Carob has been intermittently explored over the last 20 years as a potential tree crop industry in areas of Australia with less than 700mm rainfall per year. Carob pod/seed mix has considerable commercial value as a livestock fodder supplement (A$1 40 per mt), as a thickener, in canned products such as pet food (A$1,200 per mt) and as an ingredient in confectionery (A$3,000 per mt).
  • The world demand for LBG requires 35,000t of carob seed per year. LBG is used in the food industry for its strong gel characteristics, which are useful in products such as canned pet food, since they are maintained after heating

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