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.
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.
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.
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.