Gum Tragacanth is the dried gum exuded by the stem elements of Astragalus gummifer, or other Asiatic species of Astragalus. This small, bushy perennial shrub is characterized by a relatively large tap root, which, along with the branches, is tapped for the gum. These plants grow wild in sections of the Kashmir Pakistan region. The gum exudes spontaneously from cuts made in the bark.. Gum Tragacanth swells rapidly in either hot or cold water to form highly viscous colloidal sols, or semi-gels, which act as protective colloids and stabilizing agents. Gum Tragacanth solutions are slightly acidic, usually in the pH range of 5 to 6. The gum is quite stable at high pH as well as at pH as low as 2. Gum Tragacanth is compatible with other plant hydrocolloids as well as carbohydrates and proteins. The uses of Gum Tragacanth depend on its effective emulsifying, thickening, stabilizing, suspending, binding, stability to heat and acidity, good mouth-feel, and extremely long shelf life properties.
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