Assessing the suitability of locally produced gum exudates in the food industry
The over-reliance of the food industry in Ghana on imported gums ultimately increases the final cost of processed food. Gums produced by some trees in Ghana have not been exploited commercially, probably due to lack of data on the properties which influence their application in the food industry. This study was therefore undertaken to assess the suitability of gums obtained from Cashew, Albizia, and Khaya trees in Ghana in food applications, using Acacia gum as a control. The properties studied include organoleptic, pH, solubility, viscosity, swelling power, and water binding capacity. The physicochemical properties were determined through experimentation and observation. The pH, viscosity, swelling power and water binding capacity of the gums were 3.80-5.00, 93.0-11195.0 mPas (at 3% concentration), 1.64-20.56% and 4.0-428.8%, respectively. Cashew gum showed similar properties as Acacia gum, and can be used as a substitute for Acacia gum. Albizia gum was found to have the highest viscosity and water binding capacity, followed by Khaya gum, and thus has the potential to be used as a thickener in jams, sauces, etc., and also prevent stalling in baked goods and crystallization in confectioneries. The acid stabilities of Cashew and Albizia gums were comparable with that of Acacia gum.
Keywords: Acacia gum, food industry, water binding capacity, swelling power, viscosity, organoleptic properties