Presented by George Nikolopoulos, Regional Sales Manager
Alginates are salts of the long-chain, carbohydrate biopolymer alginic acid. They are extracted from various species of brown algae (seaweed) and purified to a white powder. The alginates have different characteristics of viscosity and reactivity based on the specific algal source and the ions in solution. The common salts used in the food and pharmaceutical industries are sodium alginate, potassium alginate, and propylene glycol alginate.
Alginic acid itself is insoluble, but the salts are hydrocolloids (materials that bind or absorb water). It is popular as a thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier, coating and gelling agent. Printers use it in inks and textile dyes; pharmaceutical manufacturers use it as a binder, time release agent, gelcaps, active encapsulant and film former in antacids; and beverage companies use it to add body and stabilize foam.
It is very common in the food industry for use in salad dressings to thicken and stabilize emulsions; in ice cream to add body and prevent crystal growth; in jellies and pie fillings to form gels; in low calorie formulations to improve texture and hunger satisfaction; and in baked goods to hold moisture and delay staling.
Alginates are generally acid stable and heat resistant. Adjusting the concentration of calcium ions, which cause crosslinking, controls gel strength. Combining alginate with other gums, such as pectin, increases viscosity dramatically.
Dispersing low concentrations of alginate is usually easy in ambient temperature water. Hard water or very cold water makes it more difficult. Alginate concentrations above 2% will require high shear mixing to eliminate clumps and fisheyes. Both the Admix Rotosolver and Rotostat are ideal for your in-tank processing to quickly dispersing alginate without forming clumps. These sanitary high-speed mixers combine high flow with high shear to increase mixing efficiency and productivity." For your inline powder induction and dispersion requirements, ask our applications engineers about the Fastfeed and DynaShear.
Our application engineers are happy to recommend a creative solution for your mixing challenge. Get a free customized quote today.