What is Guar Gum?


Guar Gum, also called Guaran, is a galactomannan. It is primarily the ground endosperm of Guar beans.

The Guar seeds are de husked, milled and screened to obtain the Guar Gum. It is typically produced as a free flowing, pale, off-white coloured, coarse to fine ground powder.

Guar Gum is extracted from the guar bean, where it acts as a food and water store. The guar bean is principally grown in India and Pakistan, with smaller crops grown in USA, Australia, China and Africa. The drought-resistant guar bean can be eaten as a green bean, fed to cattle, or used in green manure.

Guar is used as a thickener and emulsifier in commercial food processing and with Fracture Fluids in the Mining Industry.

Industries:

  •  Textiles – sizing, finishing and printing
  • Paper – improved sheet formation, folding and denser surface for printing
  • Explosives – additive to dynamite for water blocking.
  • Pharmaceutical – as binder or as disintegrator in tablets
  • Cosmetics and toiletries – thickener in toothpastes, conditioner in shampoos (usually in chemically modified versions)
  • Oil and gas drilling, hydraulic fracturing – thicken fracturing fluid and serves as a proppant
  • Mining – enhances the separation of mineral solids

Food Applications:

The largest market for Guar Gum is in the food industry. In the U.S., differing percentages are set for its allowable concentration in food applications. In Europe, guar gum has EU food additive code E412.

As a food additive, it emulsifies, binds water, prevents ice crystals in frozen products, moisturizes, thickens, stabilizes and suspends many liquid-solid systems.

Applications include:

  •  Baked goods – increases dough yield, gives greater resiliency, and improves texture and shelf life; in pastry fillings, it prevents “weeping”, keeping the pastry crust crisps
  • Dairy – thickens milk, yogurt, kefir, and liquid cheese products; helps maintain homogeneity and texture of ice creams and sherbets.
  • Meat – functions as lubricant and binder.
  • Dressing and sauces – improves the stability and appearance of salad dressings, barbecue sauces, relishes, ketchups and others
  • Frozen products – prevents ice crystals
  • Misc. – Dry soups, instant oatmeal, sweet desserts, canned fish and animal feed.

Hydration and Viscosity:

A polymer disperses well when each individual particle is wetted by the solvent before hydration starts. As a result, an important property of Guar is dispersibility. Guar Gum’s most important property is its ability to develop viscosity in fresh water or brine. Hydration rate can be controlled through pH control agents, which may be blended with the polymer or added to the aqueous medium. Viscosity generally develops more rapidly below pH 7. The level of applied shear can also control hydration rate, with the solution viscosity increasing faster when subjected to high shear. The rate of viscosity development is slowed with salts present in the solution.

Thickening:

Guar Gums water-thickening ability is almost eight times that of cornstarch – only a very small quantity is needed for producing sufficient viscosity. Thus it can be used in various multi-phase formulations: as an emulsifier to prevent oil droplets from coalescing, and a stabilizer helping to prevent solid particles settling.

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