Agar vs Carrageenan: The 2 Big Differences You Should Know

Agar vs. Carrageenan



Agar vs Carrageenan, both food gums are extracts from seaweed, but they have many differences. Carrageenan is soluble in water at about 80°C, forming a viscous, transparent, or slightly milky, easily flowable solution. Whereas agar does not dissolve into a solution below 85°C, it can only form a gel when the heated solution is cooled down to below 40°C.

Each food hydrocolloids have its unique characteristics, and although they may be applied in overlapping areas, the effects of their use are not the same.

Agar and Carrageenan are both extracts of seaweed, so what are the differences between these two similarly extracted food hydrocolloids?

In this article, we mainly discuss the differences between the properties and applications.

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1. Agar Properties

Color: The color of agar fades from white to slightly yellowish.

Odor: No odor or a slight odor

Appearance: strip and powder

Solubility: Insoluble in cold water, insoluble in a sugar solution, and easily soluble in hot water.

Sugar should be added to hot agar solution when agar is included in food formulations, which generally forms a gel when cooled to below 40°C and does not dissolve to a solution below 85°C. It is of unique industrial importance as it forms a fairly stable gel (gelatin) even at concentrations as low as 1%.

It is uniquely important in industry, as agar can form a fairly stable gel (gelatin) even at concentrations as low as 1%, and is a necessary raw material for the food industry, chemical industry, and medical research.

2. Carrageenan Properties

Color: white or light brown

Odor: odorless or with a slight odor, with a viscous and smooth taste.

Appearance: Powder

Solubility: It is soluble in water at about 80°C to form a viscous, transparent, or slightly milky white easy flowing solution.

If first wetted with an aqueous solution of ethanol, glycerin, or saturated sucrose, it is easier to disperse in water.

Add carrageenan to 30 times the amount of water and boil for 10 mins, a colloid will be formed when the solution cools.

The combination of carrageenan and water increases the viscosity, and the reaction of carrageenan with proteins acts as an emulsifier, which stabilizes the emulsion.

Carrageenan is stable in the powdered state and does not dissolve even when heated. Carrageenan has a very good whey-protein reactivity, so its addition to drinks can prevent whey separation.

3. Agar Applications

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Fruit grain beverage: It can make the solids in the beverage suspend evenly and not sink. It is characterized by long suspension time and shelf life, which cannot be replaced by other suspension agents. Good transparency, good fluidity, smooth taste, and no peculiar smell.

Juice gummies: agar is used in solid foods, mainly for coagulation, thus forming a colloid, which is generally used as the main raw material to combine with other auxiliary materials, such as sugar liquid, sugar, spices, and so on. The amount of agar used in fruit juice fudge is about 2.5%, and the transparency and taste of the fudge made by complexing with glucose liquid and white sugar are far better than other fudge.

Dairy products, ice cream: agar can effectively increase the taste and reduce the precipitation of ice crystals.

Canned meat, meat products: agar forms a gel that effectively binds minced meat.

Porridge, bird's nests, soups: agar acts as a thickening and stabilizing agent.

Salads: wash the agar, let it swell with boiling water, remove it, add the ingredients and serve.

Jelly pudding: agar and refined galactomannan make a transparent, strongly elastic gel.

Beer clarifying agent: agar is used as an auxiliary clarifying agent to accelerate and improve clarification.

In fact, in addition to the applications mentioned above, agar is often used as a biological culture medium, or as a carrier for some drugs.

4. Carrageenan Applications

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Ham sausage mincemeat products: Adding carrageenan can make the product elastic, good slicing, both tough and crispy, tender and smooth, with a long aftertaste.

Cold beverages: Because of the good lactoprotein reactivity, adding carrageenan to cold beverages can prevent whey from separating when CMC is added.

Gummy foods: Good transparency, bright color, uniform, and smooth viscosity, tough and chewy mouthfeel.

Dairy food: Carrageenan can make a milk curdling effect, and play a curdling and shaping role. In cocoa milk, cocoa cream, and cocoa candy syrup, it can hold up cocoa powder and play a suspending and stabilizing role. In sour milk, soft cheese, and cream, it stabilizes the milky mixture and induces the formation of gelling.

In liquor and beer: generally, as a clarifying agent, but also as a foam stabilizer.

In artificial protein fibers and artificial meat: Carrageenan and sodium alginate are added during the dosing process, proteins do not need to go through the aging process, and low or unpurified protein solutions can be used for spinning as well, improving the strength and water absorption of the spun silk. Carrageenan can also be used as a binder in the further manufacture of artificial meat from synthetic protein fibers.

Carrageenan is commonly used in the food industry as a thickener, gelling agent, suspending agent, emulsifier, and stabilizer, while agar has a unique property that is extremely useful in food industry applications, its coagulability, stability, and ability to form complexes with a number of substances and other physicochemical properties.

It can be used as a thickening agent, coagulant, suspending agent, emulsifier, preservative, and stabilizer. Agar is also commonly used as a biological culture medium, or as a carrier for some drugs.

Gino Biotech has developed a wide variety of hydrocolloids gums and multiple compounding of thickeners, including:

As one of the most professional agar-agar and carrageenan suppliers and customized solution providers, our products don't stop there; more new products are on the way.

We are here waiting for you to explore the endless possibilities with us!

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About Gino Biotech

We are a biotech company specializing in the research, development, and commercialization of innovative and technological food additives hydrocolloids Agar Agar, Carrageenan, and Tailor-Made Stabilizer Solutions.

With the extended know-how and experience in the research, application, and use of Hydrocolloids, we could provide one-stop-shop customized solutions perfectly matched to the needs of our customers.

Our products cover the needs of the Meat, Dairy, Bakery, Confectionery, and other industrial sectors.

Contact our sales representative for more information

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