Technical Specifications & Uses of Psyllium Husk Powder

Technical Specifications of Psyllium Husk Powder for Various Uses 

The psyllium husk is made up of the epidermis of the dried ripe seeds of the plantago Ovata F. The psylliyum powder is extracted from the seed of the plantago Ovata plant. It has a high level of soluble fibre. The beneficial bacteria make use of soluble fiber to energize the colon and thus help to enhance the natural elimination process of the body. A healthy colon system, like any other organ in the body requires energy. When the psyllium is consumed, it helps slow down the absorption of foods and aid in water retention thus supporting a healthy and well formed bowel movements.

Composition of the Psyllium Husk Powder

The fiber component in the plant can be divided into three main components

  • The highly fermentable component comprising from 15 – 20% of the total weight
  • The un fermentable component comprising approximately 10 – 15 % of the weight
  • Poorly fermentable and bulk forming component that goes as high as 55-60% of the psyllium weight.

From research, it has been recognized that the psyllium is very high in xylose – 59%, arabinose at 22.3 %, Uronic acid, galactose, glucose, rhamnose, mannose, and small levels of ribose. The un-fermentable portion of the powder is responsible for gel formation and fecal formation after supplementation with psyllium.

Management of appetite

Studies have shown that the psyllium husk meal when consumed before meal time and in the required dosages has the potential to cause a reduction in the appetite. 20 g of psyllium husk taken 3 hours prior to a full meal, and then immediately prior to the meal, significantly increased meal – induced satiety. This may eventually help people to reduce the energy intake by earlier termination of meals. This supplementation and the increased feeling of fullness also help reduce the fat intake.

Cardiovascular Health

The functional benefits of the psyllium are well recognized and various national agencies are following up on the use of the product in management of cardiovascular health.

Lowering Of Lipids

It has been observed that psyllium husk powder administered as the commercial bulk forming laxative has the effect of reducing the serum triglycerides. Repeated research has now shown that the powder effectively lowers the blood lipid levels and mainly the LDL cholesterol.

In young children the effect of the psyllium has been studied for the control of hypercholesterolemia. The process by which psyllium lowers the LDL cholesterol is on study. It has however been reported that this process is related to the ability to stimulate bile acid synthesis and loss.

Management of Diabetes  

In the management of the type 2 diabetes among patients, the main priority is the normalization of the blood glucose values. High fiber diets for these patients help in reducing the blood glucose, cholesterol as well as weight reduction and maintenance.

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Functional Benefits of Psyllium Fiber Supplementation

The psyllium plant has had a long history of use in various industries and mainly as a dietary fiber supplement. It is a gentle bulk forming laxative that has for a long time been used to promote the functioning of the large bowels of the body. Recent research has shown that the plant fiber has good effect on various conditions of the circulatory system.

There has been much international intrest by the public, research organizations and regulators in the medical application of foods with specific health benefits (functional foods), that favorably modify physiologic function of the body. The psyllium has been at the center of research on these kinds of foods.
There has also been a lot of interest by  psyllium husk manufacturers to produce these functional foods and ensure efficacy of action.

Gastrointestinal Regulation

The physiologically active component of the psyllium husk has been shown to be a highly branched, neutral arabinoxylan consisting of a xylose backbone and arabinose /xylose containing side chains. When compared to other cereals that are extensively fermented in the colon, the psyllium husk possesses a unique feature that prevents its fermentation by the typical colonic micro flora. The plant fiber is classified as the mucilaginous fiber due to its powerful ability to form a gel in water and research has shown that the gel forming fraction amounts to 55 – 60% of the husk. This component is responsible for the laxative properties of the psyllium husk powder.

Constipation and Diarrhea

The fiber promotes laxation through increasing the colonic contents and stimulates better propulsion. The unfermented fiber and accompanying moisture held are important in increasing the stool mass. They also provide a good substrate for microbial growth, hence a greater bacterial mass. Psyllium containing stools also contain an unfermented gel that acts as an emollient and lubricant for better stool passage.

Bowel Diseases

Supplementation of diet with psyllium is helpful in the treatment of irritable bowel diseases, inflammatory bowels disease and ulcerative colitis. The beneficial effects on colitis and inflammatory bowel disease have been observed to be due to the anti-constipation activity and increased levels of the short chain fatty acids called butyrate. Research has shown that the anaerobic fermentation of the psyllium fiber in the intestines results in considerable production of the short chain fatty acids acetate, propionate and the butyrate.

Effect on Colon Cancer

The short chained fatty acids and mainly butyric acid nourishes the colonocytes, which is important in colon cancer prevention. This chemical also exerts potent inhibition of inflammation and carcinogenesis to build more defenses against colon cancer.

Prebiotic Effects

Prebiotic foods are ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of the bifidobacteria and the lactobacilli in the gut and thus have great health benefits. Psyllium husk has been seen to promote growth of the bifidobacteria in the human gut and thus act as a pre-biotic.


Due to these characteristics of the Psyllium, various commercial uses have emerged for the product in food, pharmaceutical and other industries. Although dietary fiber is best obtained from consuming whole foods, fiber supplementation with the Psyllium husk powder is also recommended to close the fiber gap.

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Reformation of the Guar Industry Will Guarantee an Efficient Supply Chain

There has been a high annual variation in the production of the guar gum which has consequently affected the levels of export of guar and its derivatives. The guar gum is highly used in the food industry such as baking and thickening agents and food safety concerns are also becoming critical considerations in the guar supply chain. There has also been a low level of preparedness by guar gum manufacturer to handle these challenges and this has had a negative impact on the continued growth and success of this industry.

Current Attempts

India is the largest producer of guar gum, contributing over 80% of the global production. There has been several attempts made to prepare a road map for the development of the guar gum production, marketing and the processing industry. There have also been deliberate efforts to align the views of all the stake holders in the value chain to create a single vision strategy for streamlining the product supply chain.

Identification of Issues Critical To Long Term Profitability and Sustainability

This process will involve;

  • Assessment of current gaps in production, processing and marketing and developing strategies to close these gaps.
  • Organizing a series of stakeholder meetings and group discussions, grower consultations, interviews, research and industry strategic planning.

Production and Supply

This is largely affected by the monsoon conditions in India and mainly in the western districts of Rajasthan. While it is impossible to change the weather patterns, strategies can be adopted to develop varieties that can withstand mild to low rainfall or even draught resistant varieties of the guar seed. Research and breeding stations are required to develop varieties with higher yield levels to increase the seed replacement ratios and consequently reduce fluctuations associated with lower yield levels.

Agronomic Practices

Increased emphasis in extension services aimed sensitizing farmers on the best practices for better production and higher yield is a key factor in enhancing stability in the supply chain.

Price movements

The guar seed has a shelf life that is more than three years with no losses in any of its properties and qualities. The product also requires minimal maintenance and handling practices. The prices of the guar therefore largely depend on the production levels and the monsoon conditions. The emergence of futures trading for the guar has therefore served to minimize the price risk and cause stability in the supply chain. This hedging platform must therefore be supported for the benefit of the farmers, processors and exporters involved in the whole chain.

Marketing Chain

The various products and by products that are derived from the guar plant creates even greater demand for the plant. The marketing process involves mainly farmers selling the produce to commission agents who then sell to wholesalers and processors. By products such as the guar meal is manufactured and sold as animal feed to the domestic market. Creating efficient infrastructure system such as access roads and better storage technologies will also go a long way in ensuring efficiency in the guar gum value chain.

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Evaluation of The Sesbania Gum Powder

There has been a lot of interest in the plant gums in the recent years due to their diverse pharmaceutical applications in various industries. Some of these applications include usage as protective colloids in suspensions, gelling agents and diluents, and even as bases in suppository.

Research has shown that the sesbania gum yields a very high percentage of mucilage going up to approximately 33 % of the total content. It contains high molecular weight polysaccharides made up of galactan and mannan units that are combined through the glycosidicbonds, thus making it very similar in structure to other well known hydrocolloids.


The gum is extracted from sesbania seeds, and occurs as a white loose milky powder which is soluble in water and insoluble in organic solvents. In cold water it disperses to form the viscous solution that is much higher than that of other natural hydrocolloids.

Specification of the sesbania gum powder

The main contents contributing to industrial usage are the viscosity. When this is determined using the “brooke field viscometer, at temperature of 25 degrees centigrade, it give a range of 2500 cps minimum to 5000 cps maximum. This level is high and can be utilized for various industrial applications. The powder has a PH range of 5.5 to 7.0 and has been seen to have very low heavy metal content.

Some Industrial applications

  • The sesbania gum is used in the manufacturing of dye thickeners and as a sizing agent in the textile and other industries.
  • Flocculation process; the powder is heavily used as a flocculant in the waste water treatment. It has also been used up in the mining industry as an important floatation agent, used in the separation of minerals from the waste particles.
  • In the petroleum industry, the sesbania gum powder is used as a blockingagent, water resistance – reduction agent and tackifier used in the preparation of fluid cracking for enhancement of oil production rate.
  • It has emerged that the sesbania seed can be used in the manufacturing of feed for animals such as bird feed mixtures as well as a cover crop for birds.


Properties of the Sesbania Gum Powder

Research has shown that under certain temperature regimes the sesbania gum will behave like certain gums like the carob gum while at much higher concentration it exhibits properties of the guar gum. This discovery has important implications in industry as it has shown that the product can be used to replace the much more expensive hydrocolloids in the market.  Other important characteristics that are unique to the sesbania gum powder include its good release profile, physical stability and good spreadibility which are important to many manufacturing processes.

Production Advantages

Research has shown that the sesbania plant can grow on alkaline soils as well as water logged soils. This is a special property that has not being exhibited by many other plants. This creates a competitive advantage for the sesbania production which can make it more easily available and affordable to sesbania gum manufacturers.


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Fenugreek Gum Powder – Business Opportunities and Challenges

The fenugreek plant is among the important plants in industry and belongs to the family fabaceae. The plant is native to the area extending from Iran to northern India. It is also one of the oldest cultivated medicinal plants and therefore its main usage is in the pharmaceutical industry. In this industry, the plant has been found to contain several compounds such as;

• Diosgenin. These are hypolipidemic and antidiabetic action, as well as chemotherapeutic activity

• Saponins; these have been found to have hypocholesterolemic activity

• Flavanoids; Antioxidant activity

• Polyphenols: Antioxidant activity in the body

• Galactomanans; Anti-diabetic activity

Hydrocolloid Properties

fenugreek gum powder and fenugreek seeds

Research has shown that the fenugreek gum powder increases viscosity with increase in temperature. It has also been found to have the “non – Newtonian or sheer thinning” viscosity characteristics. This happens because its chemical structure has a fully substituted backbone, and therefore does not interact well with other hydrocolloids. This unique galactomannan has a mannose backbone grafted with galactose units in an average ratio of 1:1. The purified powder of the powder has very good interfacial activity compared to many other galactomanans.

This leads to formation of very good oil in water emulsions with smaller droplet sizes and longer term stability of the molecules. The fenugreek gum powder has been found to adsorb(precipitate) on the oil interface to form a relatively thick interfacial film leading to more stable emulsions than any other films from other galactomanans.
The fenugreek gum powder, unlike other types of hydrocolloids, is therefore unique in reducing the surface tension of the fluid. This particular property helps to prevent mixture of fluids against flocculation and coalescence. When this property is combined with the water holding ability of the gum, it has been found that the gum can be used in the manufacturing of cosmetics.

Food and Beverage Industry

Nutritional value; 100 g of seeds of the fenugreek have been found to provide more than 65% of the dietary fiber due to the high fiber content present in the food. It has been found to have a great ability to change the texture of the foods.

Food Stabilizer

In modern food technology, the powder is used as a stabilizer, adhesive and emulsifying agent due to the fibre, protein and gum content. Its protein has been found to be more soluble at alkaline PH of 11. Some of the proteins found in the fenugreek gum powder include the globulin, histidine, albumin and lecithin. In usage, the molecular weight of the fenugreek gum increases with increased gum concentration or reduction in the residual protein attached.


The fenugreek gum powder has gained popularity as a hydrocolloid with increasing usage in many industries in the world. Its main uses are in the food industry as a thickening and emulsifying agent. It is also useful as a source of many nutritional elements such as proteins, vitamins and a high source of fiber in the body. It is also used to add aroma to foods due to the presence of various aromatic compounds in their structure.

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What to Expect From the Guar Gum Business in the Year 2018 – 19

In the last three years, the guar gum has been under pressure from major factors of production and marketing that had a heavy effect on the entire supply chain. These factors included poor production, poor demand and poor crude prices. There has been a good sign of recovery in the period 2016-2017, as there was witnessed an approximately 30% increase in the prices. This trend is expected to continue well into 2018. According to data from several physical markets, the sentiment has been fairly neutral with most markets closing the day at the same prices of guar seed or at slightly lower prices. In the market of hanumangarh for example,there was no absolute change in prices of the guar seed loose by the end of day of January 29th trading. The prices of guar seed in the market of Nohar also remained the same.

Cultivation Area
By the mid of the year 2017, it is estimated that the total cultivated area was in the rain fed zones and the productivity per hectare estimated at 200 kilograms of the powder per hectare. This was considered much lower than expected and also coming from a lower cultivated area as compared to the year 2016. Rajasthan and Gujarat are the two major producers of the guar seed and low planting and production acreage was reported. There was an approximately 10% drop in the production acreage which ultimately translate to reduced supply.

Poor crop performance
It is also noteworthy that the prevailing climatic conditions did not quite favor guar production. It has been noted that areas with irrigated crops have experienced better production and the recorded weight of seed is also very good. This translates to better recovery of the guar splits from the guar seeds.

Demand versus supply
With the perceived reduced production and increasing USA shale gas output, it is expected that there will be a generally positive trend in prices of the product. The decline in the prices towards the end of the year 2017was attributed to higher carry forward stocks by both traders and farmers.

There has been rapid recovery in the crude oil prices and advancements in technology used in shale gas production has seen many of the oil rigs come back to full production in the united states and the world. This spells good times for guar gum powder producers in the year 2018 and going forward. The exports of the fast hydrsesation guar gum powder to Norway were also noted to have increased by up to 52 % which is a good indicator of the market direction.

Future Outlook
There has been a continuous average growth rate in the guar gum powder demand of approximately 8.8% per annum and this trend is bound to continue. Increasing research and development activities has led to more and more applications of the guar gum powder being discovered every day, the future looks good for the guar producers and the value chain will benefit.

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Phytochemical Aspects of the Sesbania Gum Powder and Recent Trends in Usage

The sesbania plant is native plant in the Indian continent where it has grown freely as a weed. With advancements in research, it has been seen to have numerous chemical compounds that can be utilized in various industries.

The sesbania belongs to the family of leguminosae and it contains a high number of sterols, saponins and tannins in its chemical structure. These are responsible for the various chemical properties of the sesbania gum powder. The plant is a small erect and quick growing, soft wood and short lived tree that grow 5 to 12 meters in height.

Increased Interest in the Sesbania Gum

Over the recent years the plant gums have evoked a lot of interest in the various industries due to their potential and diverse applications. This is because they can act as diluents, binders, disintergrants in and thickeners in various liquids, protective colloids in suspensions, as gelling agents and as bases in industrial chemical formulations. They have also been recognized because of their biocompatibility, availability and great substitutes for the other more expensive formulations.

The sesbania seed gum has still not been fully explored in the various industries despite having all the required chemical properties. It contains the requisite high molecular weight hydrocolloid polysaccharides responsible for the chemical properties of similar gum powders and can therefore serve as a good substitute for the other more costly gum powders.

Phytochemical Aspects

In addition to the polysaccharides that make up the chemical structure of the gum, the sesbania plants also contains the chemical leucocyanidin and cyaniding present in the seeds, oleanolic acid and its methyl ester as well as keemferol compounds also present in the other parts of the plant. Further analysis shows that the bark of the plant contains tannins and gum while saponins and sesbanimide can be isolated from the endosperm of seeds for other industrial uses.

Extraction of the Mucilage

The mucilage from the endosperm of the Sesbania Grandiflora seeds is extracted in laboratory trials through multiple maceration technique with water as a solvent. It has proven that the seed endosperm yields a high proportion of up to 33% mucilage. When this mucilage is mixed with water easily forms gels which can be used in various industrial processes. Continued research has showed that this gel has good release profile as well as good physical stability and spreadibility in addition to having a PH of 5 – 7.

Trends in Usage

The sesbania gum powder has now been well utilized as a sizing agent as well as a dye thickener in various textile industries. It has been used in printing processes of textiles such as cotton, rayon, chiffon, vial and their various blends for use with reactive dyes. Recent trends also show that it is gradually replacing other gum powders and more cost effective. Some of its properties include;

  • Good color yield
  • Better penetration and sharpness in prints
  • 100% soluble in cold water

The sesbania gum powder has also been used as a flocculant in waste water treatment to assist in the flocculation process of particulate matter suspended in the water.

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How the Usage of Fast Hydration Guar Has Made Impact in Oil Exploration Sector

The fast or quick hydrating guar gum powder (FHG) is a derived from the guar plant, but unlike the ordinary guar gum powder which causes viscosity in a period of two hours; this achieves almost complete viscosity in just a few minutes. The powder belongs to the category of industrial grade guar gum powder.

Impact of Fast Hydration Guar in Oil Exploration Sector

FANN Viscosity Readings
The FANN viscosity reading is the widely regarded as the standard for measurement of viscosity for the drilling fluids. They are also used in measuring the gel strength of the drilling mud. The viscometer is a rotational cylinder and bob instrument. It has got two operational speeds of 300 and 600 rpm. It is referred to as the direct reading or direct indicating because at a given speed the dial reading reflects a true centipose viscosity.

The viscosity at 2% KCL solution, with 0.48% solution of the guar gum powder on the fann viscometer on 300 RPM at 250 c and stirring at 1500 RPM) is a minimum of 25 CPS in 3 minutes to 45 CPS in 3 minutes.

Color Characteristics
This powder can be separated from the food grade guar based on the color. The food grade guar is usually white in color while the fast hydration guar is pale to off white color.

  • Thixotropic properties of the fast hydrating guar means it has high gelling rate as required in oil extraction.
  • Apart from the gelling properties, the powder is required to create a gel that is thin enough for easier pumping into the well, while the gel strength increase as it moves through the well and to support the proppant sand and effectively flush it deep into the rock fissures. The gel then has also to be loose enough to flow back and recover the fracking fluid while leaving the proppant behind. This chemical process is very important and to break the gel, chemicals such as Guar + boron + other proprietary fluids are used to accomplish this process.

This unique characteristic is very important in the production of oil and gas during the drilling process. It is applied where quick hydration and high viscosity is required.

This natural slurrible guar is non ionic and a polymeric viscosifier that is slurrible up to 50% of solids in diesel fuel systems and other similar applications. When the product is used in oil fracturing, it yields excellent pump ability, good hydration, good thermal stability and enhanced shelf life of the petroleum products.

The product is mainly used as a surfactant, an artificial polymer and a defoamer which is a critical requirement for water and brine based drilling fluids.

Other Important Uses 
With the primary function of the guar being that of viscosity, it has been seen to function effectively in cooling of drill bits, mud drilling and cementing slurries where these properties are required.

The fast hydration guar has also been heavily used in industry as a stabilizer, thickener and suspending agent in the oil well fracturing agent.


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Issues That Have Hindered the Full Utilization of Cassia Gum Powder in Industry

The cassia gum is well suited for usage in the manufacture of gels mostly in combination with other colloids and it is generally accepted for usage in the food industry. Further functional effects include thickening, emulsification, foam stabilization, moisture retention and texture improvement.

Utilization of Cassia Gum Powder

Through a wide range of toxicological studies, it has been demonstrated that the product is not toxic to animals. These studies include sub chronic, reproductive, teratogenic and genetic toxicity studies.

Presence of Anthraquinones
The presence of anthraquinones has also been a subject of discussion and a limitation to the utilization of the cassia gum powder in certain food and feed formulations. Some theories have stated that certain anthraquinones have been found to be present in animal products. These are bound to the sugars in form of glycosides, with the glycon occurring in the reduced form such as the diathrones or the oxanthrone.  Despite this, only one type of anthraquinone has been detected in the cassia gum powder. Several risk assessments done on the level of carcinogenicity have however concluded that the level of risk is very low compared various other natural ingredients.

According to some research, there has been a level of muscle toxicity associated with the components of cassia obtusifolia, although the cassia Occidentalis appears to be more toxic when present in the mixture. Active steps must therefore be taken to ensure that the cassia gum does not contain harmful levels of muscle toxins resulting from the presence of harmful levels Cassia Obtusifolia among the seeds.

Macroeconomic Indicators
There are certain indicators that directly influence the global cassia gum usage. These are related to growth in markets such as the dairy ingredients usage, confectionaries market, pet food market and usage in the manufacturing industry.

Supply Challenges
With the production of cassia gum being largely done under natural and rain fed conditions, the production capacity is limited to presence of favorable weather conditions and when these are not met, then the availability of the product is limited.

 Research and Development
With the cassia gum exhibiting similar characteristics to other hydrocolloids, it would have been expected for the powder to compete at the same level with others such as the guar gum. However, this has not been the case. There has been limited research and marketing information to create a sufficient demand pull for the cassia powder. Heavy industrial consumers for the hydrocolloids such as in the shale exploration still opt for other types of hydrocolloids.

Standard Processing Method
In the major producers such as China and India, there has been a pronounced absence of rules and regulations that address the productions and processing phases. This has an effect on the final quality of product reaching the market. This has had an impact in the marketability and usage of cassia gum.

With regulations and approvals in various countries around the world and innovations in the cassia gum formulations, there is likely to be more awareness in the potential of the cassia gum powder for industrial usage.

Currently, companies are increasingly utilizing the cassia gum powder in new products mainly in pet food, baby food and production of confectionaries.

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Economic and Environmental Sustainability Analysis of Guar Farming In Various Regions

The Guar ( cyamopsis tetragonoloba ) is mainly a spring to summer crop that exhibits high drought tolerance and grown in various regions around the world. The seeds contains galactomanans which have broad applications in various industries.
Some of these applications include softening and thickening properties, flocculation, stabilisation and many other industrial applications.

Environmental Sustainability of Guar Farming

Sustainable crop production is raising crops in ecologically and ethically responsible processes. This mainly includes adhering to the processes of good agricultural practices that will not harm the environment and the crops themselves promote and enhance the creation of a good environment.

Advantages of Annual and Perennial Crops in Environmental Sustainability
The total world production of the guar is mainly from Indian subcontinent which accounts for over 80% to global supply.  Since the development of agriculture, more than one quarter of the earth surface has been converted to agricultural production. The production of crop such as the
guar gum
has helped deal with many issues of environmental conservation and food security in a world where resources are rapidly shrinking.

This crop tends to have longer growing seasons and deeper rooting depths where they intercept, retain and utilize more precipitation. Due to the growth habit, they have longer photosynthetic season and longer green leaf duration which enhances the processes of air purification. The presence of a greater root mass reduces the risks of soil erosion and soil carbon losses compared to other crops.

 The growing of this crop provides multiple ecosystem services for sustainable production. Some of these activities include prevention of water pollution and nutrients conservation, storage of more carbon below and development of better pest tolerance.

The fact that the guar gum is drought tolerant makes it among the best crops for environmental conservation and also for conversion of unproductive areas such as the arid and semi arid areas to more productive and environmentally useful areas.

Research on the cost effectiveness and environmental impact of the guar production process compared to other crops has been found to be very low. The guar crop production process has been seen to be less than 3000 kg of CO2 eq emissions and thus a low emissions crop.

Continued industrial usage of the guar gum leads to a direct increase in the demand of the product. There have been fears that this increased demand could lead to deforestation as more land gets cleared for growing of the guar. In this case, environmentalists have given caution against this trend as replacing trees with shrubs may lead to an increase in ground level ozone (O3 ) which is a polluting gas. Despite this, the crop has been used to successfully convert previously arid areas into more productive uses. The guar gum has therefore been seen to have more positive environmental impact than other similar plants.


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