Acacia gum, more commonly known as Gum Arabic, is obtained from the Acacia senegal and several related species of small Acacia trees native to the hot dry regions of northern and central Africa and the Middle East. Acacias are various species of small trees or shrubs 10 to 25 feet in height with a spread of 10 to 15 feet.
Small 'tears' of gum oozes naturally from the trunk, but is stimulated by cutting thin strips of bark from the trees, about 2-3 feet long and 2 inches wide. The gum thickens on exposure to the air, and the oval 'tears' are then collected. Gum Arabic is water soluble, odorless and tasteless.
Gum Arabic is widely used as an emulsifier, thickening agent, stabilizer and flavor enhancer in commercial food production. It is used in the manufacture of such products as beverages, dairy products, snack foods, chewing gum, candy, confections, and fats. Gum Arabic retards sugar crystalization in candy and confections, smooths the texture of ice cream, enhances the flavor of fruit beverages, and stabilizes the foam in beers. It is also in the manufacture of paper, ink, textiles, adhesives, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
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