What is carrageenan?
Carrageenan is an ingredient, which is very popular in the food industry, especially, dairy and meat products. They are a group of lined sulphated polysaccharides, pulled out from red edible seaweeds. The reason behind their broad usage is that they haveforming, solidifying, and stabilizing properties, which very helpful in food products and some other products. Based on their degree of sulphation, there are three types of carrageenan. Kappa-carrageenan contains only one sulphatesetper disaccharide; Iota-carrageenan holds two of them, and Lambda-carrageenan comprisesof three.
Moreover, for those who may have doubt about its uses, carrageenan is safe.
What are the properties of carrageenan?
Carrageenan has some important properties that make them so important. The properties are:
- Solubility –carrageenan
All the three carrageenan are soluble in hot waters. On the other hand, in cold water, only the lambda carrageenan is soluble. All of them are insoluble in sugar solutions.
- Stability –
Another property of carrageenan is that carrageenan solution is stable at neutral or alkaline pHs. However, at lower pHs their stability decreases, especially at high temperatures.
- Reactivity with proteins –
This property is very important. Carrageenan’s high reactivity with proteins is the main reason of its wide use in meat and dairy products. This property makes carrageenan different from other hydrocolloids.
- Viscosity –
Viscosity of carrageenan depends on quite a few factors. The viscosity of carrageenan solutions depends on concentration, temperature, the presence of other solutes, the type of carrageenan and its molecular weight.
Is carrageenan safe?
This question about carrageenan has been chasing us for a very long time. Everyone wants to whether the consumption of carrageenan is safe for him or her, or not. The answer to that question is that it is safe but when used in limited quantity, overuse may result in some problems. Therefore, make sure that you keep an eye on the quantity of carrageenan present in the product.