Carrageenan, derived from the name of a place in Ireland called “Carragin” where it was discovered, is a water soluble gel used mostly as a thickening and binding agent. It is a natural vegetable gelatin obtained from red algae and widely used in food, medicines, and research.
Carrageenan has three (3) varieties of commercial interest:
A natural hydrocolloid, Kappa carrageenan is the most common variety used as an ingredient in household products and etc. Aside from being a thickening and binding agent, it is a suspending and emulsifying stabilizer. It also has pure gelling property that is found to be greatly suitable for food production industry.
Kappa carrageenan has the following characteristics:
- Firm, brittle gel
- Soluble at 80°C
- Reactive with Potassium ions
- With minimum syneresis
- Strongly gelling
As mentioned before, Kappa has the most number of uses among the three varieties of commercial carrageenan. It can be used in the following for its corresponding purposes:
- Frozen Desserts such as Ice cream and Ice popsicle
- Dairy products such as Milk, Cheese and Yogurt
- Air-freshener gel