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Answers

Question

Does Xanthin gum come from a genetically modified source

Submitted by: equanimous1


Answer

Expert response from Ruth MacDonald

Professor and Chair, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University

Thursday, 02/10/2014 22:18

Xanthan gum is made by allowing a very specific bacteria (Xanthomonas campestris) to grow in a liquid solution that contains carbohydrates and other nutrients. While growing, the bacteria uses the carbohydrate to produce the xanthan gum which is released into the liquid. The xanthan gum is then separated completely from the bacteria and the liquid and dried into a powder. Xanthan gum has a chemical structure that is in the same family as carbohydrates but has unique properties for adding texture and volume to foods. Depending on what company is making the xanthan gum, the source of carbohydrate used in the liquid will vary, but could come from a GM crop such as corn. The carbohydrate in the liquid would be very pure and the bacteria converts it into the xanthan gum by rearranging the bonds in the molecule. It would be impossible to tell the source of the carbohydrate in the final xanthan gum. You might think about this like putting eggs into a cake – the eggs went in looking like eggs but when you eat the cake you can’t tell which parts are egg anymore.

Answer

Expert response from Ruth MacDonald

Professor and Chair, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University

Thursday, 02/10/2014 22:18

Xanthan gum is made by allowing a very specific bacteria (Xanthomonas campestris) to grow in a liquid solution that contains carbohydrates and other nutrients. While growing, the bacteria uses the carbohydrate to produce the xanthan gum which is released into the liquid. The xanthan gum is then separated completely from the bacteria and the liquid and dried into a powder. Xanthan gum has a chemical structure that is in the same family as carbohydrates but has unique properties for adding texture and volume to foods. Depending on what company is making the xanthan gum, the source of carbohydrate used in the liquid will vary, but could come from a GM crop such as corn. The carbohydrate in the liquid would be very pure and the bacteria converts it into the xanthan gum by rearranging the bonds in the molecule. It would be impossible to tell the source of the carbohydrate in the final xanthan gum. You might think about this like putting eggs into a cake – the eggs went in looking like eggs but when you eat the cake you can’t tell which parts are egg anymore.