Carrageenan is an extracted product from seaweed plant tissue and there are different types of gelling agent formed with it and kappa is one among them. Kappa Carrageenan has pure gelling property that is found to be greatly suitable for food production industry. Kappa is a compatible gelling agent that can work out efficiently on boiling and cold industrial productions. It is also a good stabilizing agent that can control the structure of water molecules. It was used as a prime component used in pudding preparation since the time it had been in use in places like Hawaii.
Carrageenan extracts from red seaweeds such as girgartinaceae, hypaneaceae, etc have been identified to produce gelling, stabilizing and viscous properties. They are used for commercial purpose for their properties. The extraction of gum from these seaweeds is a long process. The seaweeds are dried first and washed perfectly and then sent to alkaline extraction process to separate the natural ingredient from the seaweed extract. Kappa Carrageenan is a specific extract from a red algae called kappaphycus alvarezii wherein, it belongs to the carrageenan algae family and also a commercial source. This particular sea weed is dissolved into an aqueous liquid and pure kappa is obtained by filtering the other materials stick to it.
Application in Food Industry
- Kappa carrageenan is synergistically compatible with other gum products to produce gelling effect.
- It is mostly applied to obtain breakable gels such as in the production of dairy based fluid products.
- However, it forms into fragile gel only when additional component is added to it such as the calcium and potassium salts. Hence, the liquid form of ingredients which need to transform into gel like substance, should possess calcium or potassium.
- In combination with Locust Bean Gum, Kappa gum can show improved gelling property and develops elasticity as well.
- In addition, kappa gum can be used as an alternative for eggs also hence; it is applied in combination with starch to make egg-less food products.
- It acts as a powerful stabilizer to get a smooth final touch in several milk based products such as cheese, ice cream, etc.
Carrageenan has several advantageous properties they are,
- Solubility- Kappa contains good solubility property which makes this gum applicable for making variety of food products. It is soluble in both hot and cold water, however; when mixed with calcium salts it loses its solubility property. Kappa is soluble in hot milk to some extent as the presence of calcium ion prevents this property.
- Gelling Agent-When mixed with potassium salts kappa forms into brittle gel however; presence of more potassium salts will make the get weaker.
- It also works as a good stabilizing agent in food processing industry.