Gellan gum is a food additive that is most commonly used to bind, stabilize, or texture processed foods. This bacteria was discovered in 1978 by extracting tissue from a lily plant growing in a pond in Pennsylvania, USA.
Gellan gum consumption seems to be on the rise for quite a while now. As a result, more vegans are questioning ‘is gellan gum vegan or not’. In this article, we will go over gellan gum in greater detail. So, please keep reading to find out whether gellan gum is beneficial or harmful to the vegan community.
What is Gellan Gum?
Gellan gum is a thickening agent that can be added to foods to help them meet and maintain the desired consistency.
It mainly grows on water lily leaves but can also be made synthetically by fermenting sugar with a particular strain of bacteria. It resembles other gelatinization agents such as guar gum (check vegan status), carrageenan, agar-agar, and xanthan gum.
Gellan gum can also be used as a plant-based substitute for gelatin, which is obtained from pig skin, cartilage, or bone.
Is Gellan Gum Gluten Free?
Gellan Gum is gluten free. It is commonly used in food production as a thickener, emulsifier, and binder in addition to its potential to increase liquid viscosity, such as in gluten-free food, to provide better texture and flavor to pasta, biscuits, dairy products, and candy. Gellan Gum is therefore safe for celiac and other gluten-related diseases patients.
What is Gellan Gum made of?
Gellan gum is a naturally derived ingredient. It is made from naturally occurring bacteria. Gellan gum was discovered in a lily pond in Pennsylvania, USA, by scientists in 1978. Gellan gum grows naturally in water lilies, but it can also be produced artificially.
Nutrients are converted into large molecules by cells through fermentation. The fermented mixture is filtered and dried to produce powder gellan gum. The gellan gum that results can also be used in trace amounts in foods and beverages.
Gellan gum is a plant-based food ingredient that can replace gelatin in recipes. Despite the fact that it is plant-based, gellan gum is not always a vegan option. This is due to the fermentation of lactose, which produces gellan gum. This sparks a debate among the vegan community. As a result, some consider it vegetarian but not vegan.
What is Gellan Gum used for?
Gellan gum is typically used to balance or texturize processed foods by binding the ingredients together. It is equivalent to emulsifying agents such as carrageenan, agar-agar, and guar gum. It’s a vegan substitute for gelatin obtained from animal bone or skin. There are also vegan versions of gellan gum that are developed through bacterial fermentation.
It adds a creaminess to desserts and a jelly-like consistency to fillings for baked products. Gellan gum reduces the chances of certain delicacies melting when heated, such as creme brûlée or flaming sorbet.
Non-vegan products that contain it include fermented milk, cream, yogurt, processed cheese, and some unripened cheeses. It is also used to extend the shelf life of processed meats, fish roe, soups, broths, condiments, powdered sugar, and syrups.
Gellan gum is also frequently used to boost juices and plant-based milks to help preserve supplementary nutrients like calcium, preventing them from lumping at the bottom of the package.
Is Gellan Gum Safe?
Gellan gum is completely safe to use, according to the USDA and the European Food Safety Authority. It is typically used in small amounts, and users are unlikely to encounter this because it is used in such small amounts.
It is also gluten-free, making it suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten allergies. Some people, however, may experience side effects. Even so, it can also be an amazing ingredient for people suffering from constipation, though it can slow digestion in some people.
The majority of gellan gums are vegan. Some of them, however, aren’t. Gellan gum is a plant-based gelling agent that can replace animal gelatin. The manufacturing process, however, determines whether it is vegan or not.
As a result, if you find gellan gum in your food, beverage, or candy like mentos (check vegan status) that is cultured without lactose, it is vegan. However, if it is fermented with lactose, it is only vegetarian and not vegan. As a result, research and the Vegan Certified symbols are the best ways to determine whether vegan gellan gum is used in manufacturing.