Difference Between Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum

Main Difference – Guar Gum vs Xanthan Gum

Both guar gum and xanthan gum are ingredients commonly used in gluten free recipes, and both serve the same common purpose as thickeners and emulsifiers in these recipes. However, there seem to be a lot of confusion over the difference between guar gum and xanthan gum, mainly among gluten-free product consumers. But, guar gum and xanthan gum are two different food ingredients used for the same culinary purpose. Guar gum is produced from a seed native to tropical Asia, whereas xanthan gum is produced by a microorganism known as Xanthomonas Camestris. This is the key difference between guar gum and xanthan gum. In this article, let’s discuss the difference between guar gum and xanthan gum in terms of their physical, chemical characteristics and intended uses.Difference Between Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum - infographic

What is Guar Gum

Guar gum is a plant-based food ingredient, and it is also known as guaran or galactomannan. It is primarily obtained from the ground endosperm of guar beans. In order to produce guar gum, the guar seeds are de-husked, pulverized and separated. Generally, guar gum is a free-flowing, off-white powder. Biochemically, guar gum is a carbohydrate polysaccharide collected from the sugars galactose and mannose. Guar gum is used as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickening agent. This is mainly produced in countries like India, Pakistan, U.S., Australia and Africa.

Difference Between Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum

What is Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum a food ingredient and biochemically it is a polysaccharide. It was first discovered by Allene Rosalind Jeanes. It is secreted by the microorganisms known as Xanthomonas campestris as a result of fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose. It is used as a rheology modifier, thickening agent, and a stabilizer. It is composed of glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid.

Main Difference - Guar Gum vs Xanthan Gum

Difference Between Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum

The differences between guar gum and xanthan gum can be divided into following categories. They are; 

E-number (EU food additive code)

Guar gum: E-number of guar gum is E412.

Xanthan gum: E-number of xanthan gum is E 415.

Chemical Nature

Guar Gum: Biochemically, guar gum is a polysaccharide, and it contains galactose and mannose sugars.Difference Between Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum - image 3

Xanthan Gum: Chemical formula of guar gum monomer is C35H49O29. It is a polysaccharide that comprises of pentasaccharide repeat units, including glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid in the molar ratio 2:2:1.Difference Between Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum - image 4

Origin

Guar Gum: Guar Gum is derived from the endosperm of guar beans.

Xanthan Gum: Xanthan Gum is derived from bacterium Xanthomonas campestris.

Production Process

Guar Gum: It is mainly derived from the ground endosperm of guar beans/seeds. First, the guar seeds are de-husked, milled and screened to gain the guar gum. It is an off-white powder.

Xanthan Gum: Xanthan Gum is manufactured by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose. After fermentation, the polysaccharide is precipitated from a growth medium with isopropyl alcohol, followed by drying and grounding into a fine powder. Then it is incorporated into a liquid medium to form the gum.

Uses in Food Industry and Other

Guar Gum: Guar gum is mainly used in the following applications;

Food Industry

  • Used gums in gluten-free recipes and gluten-free products
  • Used for thickening cold foods such as ice cream or pastry fillings
  • Used for making thick pastes and for retaining water bound in a sauce or emulsion
  • Used to make hot gels, light foams and as an emulsion stabilizer
  • Used in baked goods to increases dough yield, gives greater resiliency, and improves texture and shelf life
  • Used in dairy products to thicken milk, yogurt, kefir, and liquid cheese products, and helps maintain homogeneity and texture of ice creams and sherbets

Textile, Other Industries

Paper industry to enhance sheet formation, folding and denser surface for printing

Explosives industry as waterproofing agent

Pharmaceutical industry as binder or as disintegrator in tablets

Cosmetics and toiletries industries as a thickener in toothpaste or conditioner in shampoos

Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum is used in following applications:     

  • Used as a food additive and rheology modifier
  • Used as a food thickening agent in salad dressings
  • Used as a stabilizer in cosmetic products to prevent ingredients from separating
  • Used in frozen foods and beverages
  • Used to thicken commercial egg substitutes made from egg whites
  • Used in gluten-free baking
  • Used in oil-in-water emulsions to help stabilize the oil droplets against coalescence

Allergies

Guar Gum: It can cause allergic in few individuals and experience reactions such as flushing, itchiness, and diarrhea.

Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum may be derived from corn, wheat, dairy, or soy source products that are common allergens.

In conclusion, guar gum and xanthan gum are the most frequently used gums in gluten-free recipes and gluten-free products. They are derived from different sources and used for more or less similar applications.

References

Garcı́a-Ochoa, F; Santos, V.E; Casas, J.A; Gómez, E (2000). Xanthan gum: production, recovery, and properties. Biotechnology Advances 18 (7): 549–579.

Becker and Vorholter (2009). Xanthan Biosynthesis by Xanthomonas Bacteria: An Overview of the Current Biochemical and Genomic Data. Microbial Production of Biopolymers and Polymer Precursors. Caister Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-904455-36-3.

Pittler MH, Ernst E. Guar gum for body weight reduction: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 2001;110(9):724-730.

JC Brown & G Livesey. Energy balance and expenditure while consuming guar gum at various fat intakes and ambient temperatures. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994. 60(6):956-64

Image Courtesy:

“Lab grade guar gum” – The original uploader: at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by  using CommonsHelper.  via

“Xanthan Gum” by   via

“Guaran” By Yikrazuul – Own work (Public Domain)  via

“Xanthan” By NEUROtiker – Own work (Public Domain) via  

About the Author: Geesha

Geesha has a BSc (Hons) degree in Food Science and Technology and Master's degree in Food and Nutrition. She is currently reading for her PhD in Food science and technology. Sharing what she learned is a passion of hers and enjoys writing.


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