Importance of Various Natural Hydrocolloids & Gums as Binding Agents

In a hydrocolloid the colloid particles, which are hydrophilic polymers, disperse and spread in the entire water. A colloid, according to the dictionary meaning, is a substance that disperses microscopically, all through another substance.

What are Hydrocolloids

Hydrocolloids or gums are polymers which have the property to form glutinous or gels when it is dispelled in water. They were initially found in the discharge from trees, shrubs, or the extract got from plants etc. These are complex sugars except gelatin which is a protein.

These are a group of compounds like proteins, starches, cellulose etc. which act as thickening, gelling and stabilizing agents for water-based liquids like milk, soda, juice etc. Some common hydrocolloids are wheat flour, cornstarch, arrowroot and gelatin.

These are extensively used in the food industry as stabilizers, thickeners and binding agents to create texture in salad dressings, soups and various sauces, in ice creams so that they do not freeze very hard and in many more products. They are used in very small amount but the effect is immense.

Various natural hydrocolloid gums:

Hydrocolloids are obtained from natural sources like seeds, plant roots, seaweeds, sap of a tree, peels of fruits etc. Various natural hydrocolloids include agar-agar from sea weeds, guar gum from seeds, gumarabic from tree sap, pectin from fruits etc.

Uses of various hydrocolloids gums as binding agents:

The water binding properties of hydrocolloids help to change the texture and the mouthfeel of the food. Their interaction with the protein helps to stabilize and protect the protein in the food.

A range of natural hydrocolloids are available in the market and are used in the food industry as binding agents.

Guar gum

It is got from the seeds of the leguminous guar plants. It is used as a binding agent and a stabilizer in food, cakes and breads. It is also used in the paper, pharmaceutical and textile industry as a binding agent. To know more about guar gum please visit:

Cassia Gum – 

Cassia Gum Powder (Cassia Tora Powder) - 1

Cassia Gum, a natural polysaccharide galactomannan has excellent binding properties as compared to the other naturally obtained hydrocolloidal gums. This off-white, practically odorless powder is economical product widely used in pharmaceutical industry for forming tablets. It is also used as a binding agent in meat and poultry products.

Some other popular forms of natural binding agents and gums widely used in food and other commercial processes are agar-agar, arrow root, gelatine, alginates, tragacanth etc.


Thus hydrocolloids perform a number of functions. As they are water soluble they help to improve the texture and flavor of food, and play a very vital role in the food industry.

Ajit Patel

This Article has been written & posted by Ajit Patel.

Written by Ajit Patel

This article has been posted by Ajit Patel.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter