Locust bean gum is extracted from the seeds of Ceratonia siliqua, the European carob tree. The locust bean has been cultivated since antiquity in the Mediterranean region. Locust bean gum is also called carob gum or carob bean gum.
To obtain a high grade of locust bean gum, first locust bean flour is produced. The locust bean flour production process is similar to that of guar gum. To produce locust bean flour, the locust bean is collected from the tree. The locust bean is a pod, it consists of 3 parts:
- albumen or endosperm, which is light cream in color, and made up of two hemispherical segments (splits) which surround the germ. The albumen contains the locust bean gum.
- germ, which is rich in protein
Locust bean flour is obtained through the following steps:
First, the grain is dehusked. Then, after moderate crushing, the splits are separated from the germ. Finally, the flour is obtained simply by grinding the splits. To obtain a good grade of locust bean gum another processing step is necessary, the extracts manufacturing process :
- The raw material is dissolved by cooking in hot water
- The insoluble material is filtered out using filter earth
- The clarified solution is precipitated in isopropyl alcohol
- The is then pressed, vacuum dried, ground and sieved
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