Hydrocolloids are a heterogeneous group of long chain polymers (polysaccharides and proteins) characterised by their property of forming viscous dispersions and/or gels when dispersed in water.
Hydrocolloids have a wide array of functional properties in foods. These include thickening, gelling, emulsifying, stabilisation, and controlling the crystal growth of ice and sugar though the basic properties for which hydrocolloids find extensive use are thickening and gelling.
Pectin is an ingredient and a natural component of plants that is especially abundant in apples and citrus fruits. Fruit pectin is associated with cellulose in plant tissues, where it plays a fundamental role in determining their mechanical properties.
Pectin, as a food ingredient, can be used as a gelling agent, thickening agent and stabilizer in food applications, such as yogurt, confectionery and acid milk drinks.
Carrageenan is a hydrocolloid that finds maximum application in dairy desserts like puddings, milk shakes, ice cream and chocolate milk because of its ability to form gels in milk at much lower concentrations compared to any other gelling agent.
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide widely used for its unique ability to control the rheological properties of a wide range of food products. Xanthan gum dissolves readily in hot or cold water, provides uniform brine distribution, is stable in acidic and alkaline solutions and has synergistic interactions with other hydrocolloids such as locust bean gum and guar gum.
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