TRADE NAMES

  • Algin
  • Kelcogel
  • Protanal
  • Sodium Alginate USP.
  • Agar is also known as Agar-agar, Kanten, or Japanese Isinglass.
  • Carrageenan is also known as Irish Moss or Carrageen Moss.
  • Kappa-carrageenan is also known as Ceamidopropyl Betaine or CAPB.

Sodium alginates are a type of phycocolloid, or seaweed-derived polysaccharide. They are among the most widely used hydrocolloids in the food industry, due to their unique gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Other common phycocolloids include agar, carrageenan, and kappa-carrageenan.

Sodium alginates are extracted from brown algae such as Laminaria digitata and Ascophyllum nodosum. The alginate content of these algae ranges from 2-6%. Seaweed is harvested, dried, and milled into a powder before being dissolved in water to extract the alginates.

The gelling properties of sodium alginate are exploited in a variety of food applications. Sodium alginate can be used to create thick, creamy textures in dairy-based desserts such as pudding and mousse. It can also be used to stabilize emulsions, preventing separation of oil and water.

Sodium alginate is also commonly used in the manufacturing of jelly candies and fruit chews. In this process, a sugar syrup is flavoured with fruit or chocolate and mixed with sodium alginate. The mixture is then extruded into an calcium chloride bath, where it forms gel beads. These gel beads are then dried and coated with sugar to create the final candy product.

In addition to its use in food, sodium alginate is also used in the textile industry as a sizing agent, and in the pharmaceutical industry as a binding agent.

Sodium alginates are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Other phycocolloids such as agar, carrageenan, and kappa-carrageenan also have unique gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties and are used in a variety of food and industrial applications. Like sodium alginate, these phycocolloids are extracted from seaweed species. However, each type of phycocolloid has its own distinct chemical structure and thus exhibits different physical and chemical properties. For example, carrageenan is much more heat-stable than sodium alginate and can therefore be used in hot beverages such as instant coffee and tea. Kappa-carrageenan is also used in the food industry, but its main use is in the cosmetics industry as a thickening agent.

Due to their wide range of uses, phycocolloids are an important part of the global food and industrial economy. The global market for sodium alginate is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2025, with Asia-Pacific accounting for the largest share. The carrageenan market is expected to reach $1.1 billion by 2025, with South America and Africa being the fastest-growing regions. The kappa-carrageenan market is expected to reach $85 million by 2025, with North America being the largest market.

PHARMACOKINETICS

Sodium alginate is not absorbed when ingested orally. It is excreted unchanged in the feces.

Agar is partially hydrolyzed in the stomach and intestine and then fermented by gut bacteria. Some agar is absorbed and excreted in the urine.

Carrageenan is partially hydrolyzed in the stomach and intestine and then fermented by gut bacteria. Some carrageenan is absorbed and excreted in the urine.

Kappa-carrageenan is not absorbed when ingested orally. It is excreted unchanged in the feces.

TOXICOLOGY

No toxic effects have been observed with oral ingestion of sodium alginate at levels up to 10 g/kg body weight.

Agar is nontoxic and has been used as a food additive for centuries.

Carrageenan is nontoxic and has been used as a food additive for centuries.

Kappa-carrageenan is nontoxic and has been used as a food additive for centuries.

ECOTOXICOLOGY

No adverse effects have been observed in animals after oral ingestion of sodium alginate at levels up to 10 g/kg body weight.

Agar is not toxic to the environment and has been used as a food additive for centuries.

Carrageenan is not toxic to the environment and has been used as a food additive for centuries.

Kappa-carrageenan is not toxic to the environment and has been used as a food additive for centuries.

SIDE EFFECTS

No adverse side effects have been reported with the oral ingestion of sodium alginate at levels up to 10 g/kg body weight.

Agar is not known to cause any adverse side effects.

Carrageenan is not known to cause any adverse side effects.

Kappa-carrageenan is not known to cause any adverse side effects.

PRECAUTIONS

Sodium alginate is generally regarded as safe and has no known side effects. However, as with any food additive, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before consumption.

Agar is generally regarded as safe and has no known side effects. However, as with any food additive, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before consumption.

Carrageenan is generally regarded as safe and has no known side effects. However, as with any food additive, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before consumption.

Kappa-carrageenan is generally regarded as safe and has no known side effects. However, as with any food additive, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before consumption.

INTERACTIONS

There are no known drug interactions with sodium alginate.

Agar may interact with medications that are broken down by the liver. Therefore, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional before taking agar if you are taking any medications.

Carrageenan may interact with medications that are broken down by the liver. Therefore, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional before taking carrageenan if you are taking any medications.

Kappa-carrageenan may interact with medications that are broken down by the liver. Therefore, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional before taking kappa-carrageenan if you are taking any medications.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming sodium alginate.

There is not enough information available on the safety of agar during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, it is best to avoid consuming agar if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

There is not enough information available on the safety of carrageenan during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, it is best to avoid consuming carrageenan if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

DOSAGE

There is no recommended dosage for sodium alginate since it is not absorbed when ingested orally.

Agar can be taken orally in dosages of up to 10 g/day.

Carrageenan can be taken orally in dosages of up to 10 g/day.

Kappa-carrageenan can be taken orally in doses of up to 5 g/day.