Gelling agents obtained via fermentation used to produce firm gels that slice cleanly and withstand high temperatures.
Gellan gum is a polysaccharide whose origin differs from that of other hydrocolloids presented so far. Its rather recent discovery was the result of industrial research on gum from bacterial fermentation. Sphingomonas elodea bacteria transform simple sugars, phosphate, nitrogen and nutrients into chains of more complex sugars. Once the process has been completed, the microorganisms are eliminated by pasteurization. Precipitation in alcohol and acyl group clarification or elimination processes are applied to the gum to further transform it. Four derivatives are manufactured in the industry, each with different properties. Two forms are more widely used in cooking: highacyl and low-acyl gellan gum.
Did you know?
- Gellan gum replaces agar-agar in culture media that must be maintained at very high temperatures.
- It is used in gelatinous beverages that are popular in Asia, but marketing abroad proved to be difficult, particularly in North America with the beverage “Orbitz.”
- It adheres salt crystals that are sprayed onto pretzels, without adding fat.
- It often replaces pectin in sugar-free jams and is added to dry cake mixes to maintain enough moisture during cooking.