Carrageenan is made up of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium sulfate esters of galactose and 3,6-anhydrogalactose units.
It is a wholly natural ingredient obtained from certain species of the red seaweed, class Rhodophyceae.
Popular sources for carrageenan are the Chondrus crispus, Eucheuma cottonii and Eucheuma spinosum species.
The Chondrus crispus species grows mainly in cold water territories such as the northern coasts of the Atlantic while the Eucheuma species are abundantly found in tropical climates like the Philippines.
The Philippines has successfully launched and maintained numerous Eucheuma cottonii and Eucheuma spinosum seaweed farms providing ample supply and good quality to meet the growing demand.
There are three carrageenan types which are of commercial interest because of the various applications of the hydrocolloid in food and other industrial uses.
They are called the iota, kappa and lambda carrageenan.
Marcel Carrageenan uses the Eucheuma cottonii for the production of kappa carrageenan and the Eucheuma spinosum for the iota carrageenan.
Iota, kappa and lambda are copolymers which differ in their chemical structure, properties and therefore in their applications in food.
Gels most strongly with calcium salts
Elastic gel with no syneresis (weeping out of water)
Gel is freeze-thaw stable
Completely soluble in hot water
Gels most strongly with potassium salts
Brittle gel with some syneresis
Synergistic with locust bean gum
Soluble in hot water
No gel formation, forms high viscosity solutions
Fully soluble in cold water
Carrageenan is also synergistic with other hydrocolloid gums.
A very wide-range of applications can be developed from the interactions among different types of carrageenan with most food systems.
Marcel Carrageenan specializes in blending carrageenan with other ingredients for customized application depending on the desired performance of customers.