Research contributes towards food safety
Acacia gum (Gum Arabic) has been used since 4000 B.C.E in cosmetics and inks, and as an agent in the mummification process. Today it is used in large quantities as a food emulsifier, but with industry concerns around quality and other issues, Glyndŵr University led research to develop industrial standards and a certification system to provide the confidence needed for the continued use of this product in food production.
The food industry was particularly keen for researchers to explore a range of factors that might affect Acacia gum, including location, soil type and age of tree along with collection time, drying, storage and subsequent processing, all of which varies quality of gum Arabic from batch to batch.
The objective was to find a way to control variation and develop new formulations enabling the University to develop gum Arabic industrial standards: exact protocols that allowed for fast, accurate and reliable measurements of the structural characteristics associated with good and poor emulsifiers, with a certificate issued confirming the attributes of the materials tested.
Global companies including Nestlé have used the University’s analytical service, and researchers assisted in establishing centres to support Sudanese companies improve quality assurance.
“The work with the University not only helped our company improve our products but also to increase our supply.” Hashim Eldigair, Chairman of NOPEC Development Co Ltd, Sudan