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Miraculous carrageenan! It’s in the food you often eat!

Nov 27, 2023

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Carrageenan is a hydrophilic colloid extracted from marine red algae! Because it has good coagulation, thickening, emulsification, film-forming, stable dispersion and other properties, and has the function of dietary fiber, it has been widely used in the food industry.

(1) Application in cold food

In the production of ice cream, carrageenan can increase the molding and melting resistance of ice cream , and improve the stability of ice cream when temperature fluctuations occur. Carrageenan complexes with protein, can control the aggregation and coagulation of oil, and enhance the dispersion of oil. properties, control the interaction between oil and protein, thereby improving the stability of milk protein when heated; improving foaming, forming fine and stable bubbles, thereby increasing the expansion rate; helping product shaping and preventing shrinkage; improving scalability and improving Structure, improve uniformity, stability and melt resistance, make fat and other solid components evenly distributed, prevent separation of whey, prevent ice crystals from increasing during manufacturing and storage, make ice cream fine in texture, good in structure, smooth and palatable when placed It is not easy to melt, making the production of ice cream more simple and reasonable, easy to operate and conducive to quality control. The usual dosage is 0.01% ~ 0.03%.

(2) Application in meat products

Carrageenan can make the product have good elasticity, good slicing properties, moderate toughness and brittleness, tenderness and refreshing taste. Carrageenan is used in ham and ham sausage. The most important thing is to provide appropriate water retention , and because it can complex with protein, it provides a fairly good organizational structure, making the product delicate, well-sliced, and good in taste. It is a must-use for making ham. of additives.

In whole muscle product production applications, carrageenan is added to the meat product through injection of saline. For this application, the most important thing is to keep the carrageenan in an insoluble and dispersed state so that the viscosity of the saline can be maintained at a low level to facilitate injection. Kappa-carrageenan is an ideal choice. The insolubility (dispersibility) of carrageenan in salt water is controlled by adding phosphate (usually tripolyphosphate) and sodium chloride to cold water below 5°C. The principle is that the ionic environment formed after the dissolution of phosphate and salt is conducive to the dispersion of carrageenan; and the high ion concentration prevents the expansion of kappa-type carrageenan molecules and keeps them in an uncurled state, making the viscosity of the salt water lower.

In fact, low-viscosity saline can prevent the formation of pressure, avoid needle occlusion, and reduce the tearing of connective tissue in striated muscle bundles during multi-needle whole-muscle injections. By controlling the temperature of the salt water and the order of adding ingredients, coupled with appropriate injection processing and drum massage technology, the salt water with different κ-carrageenan content can be helped to maximize its functions. In addition, appropriate adjustments to the carrageenan content in the brine can also effectively control the moisture loss of cooked meat products to less than 5% of the total injection volume.

To improve the quality of meat products: The function of carrageenan is to produce a gelling effect with protein, allowing the meat to form a complete tissue structure, which is the key to the production and processing of meat products. The interaction between carrageenan and protein depends on a series of factors, including the degree of protein denaturation, ion species and concentration, pH, concentration, processing temperature, protein type and quality, etc. Simply put, by electrostatically controlling the bond between the negatively charged sulfate ester group in carrageenan and the positively charged amino group in the globulin, under appropriate environmental conditions, additional structural support can be provided for the carrageenan structure. stability.

Another type of carrageenan-protein bond is formed through the connection of divalent cations between the sulfate ester groups in carrageenan and the negatively charged carboxyl groups distributed in the protein molecules. A commonly used divalent cation is calcium ion, but magnesium ion also performs the same function. It is worth noting that if excessive cations are added, especially when hydrolyzed proteins are used and over-processed (high heat), carrageenan-protein will coagulate or precipitate.

In an environment with high concentration of ions, such as in salt water used for processing meat products, the molecular structure of iota-type carrageenan will expand and some of it will dissolve, making the viscosity of the salt water too high. If added to the whole muscle, If the saline solution containing ι-carrageenan is used, many "tightening marks" will appear on the product, resulting in poor soft tissue texture. Therefore, iota-carrageenan is not suitable for use in saline injections for whole muscle or cooked meat products. On the contrary, for products made from a combination of lean whole shoulder meat and minced meat, or whole minced meat, finely minced meat products (sausages or frankfurters), by using iota-carrageenan, or iota- and kappa- Carrageenan blends (often used with synergists such as protein supplements, gums or starches) for optimal meat texture and stability. Since all the meat materials of these products are minced meat or minced meat, the viscosity of the brine is not important, which solves the problem of using iota-carrageenan. In most cases, all ingredients are added to the meat in a meat grinding or chopping equipment, so that the ingredients can be more evenly distributed before being made and stored, and the carrageenan can be hydrated. When deep processing of shoulder meat or finely chopped meat products, the muscle fibers will be cut into fine pieces, so that the meat protein, moisture and carrageenan can play a greater role in each other, thereby obtaining better results.

In addition, adding l-carrageenan to mechanically boneless meat (MDM) can also improve the meat strength and water holding capacity of its processed products . Without any added ingredients, these meats have poor texture properties. Another advantage of using iota-carrageenan in high-protein, low-fat meat products such as MDM is that it can control the fluidity of the finished product before and after cooking, as well as the freezing-thawing stability of the product. At the same time, iota-carrageenan can also imitate the characteristics of fat in low-fat meat products, giving consumers the taste of high-fat cooked meat products without the calories of fat. In addition, when used in high-fat meat products, such as sausages and bratwursts, iota-carrageenan can interact with lecithin to help the meat products maintain emulsification and moisture stability, thereby reducing cooking weight loss and making the process easier. The finished product has better sensory acceptance. The source of meat for whole muscle, shoulder meat or minced meat products can vary according to the quality requirements required by the product or consumer tastes, such as pork, beef, mutton, etc., which can be processed separately , and can be combined with ingredients using carrageenan as a basic stabilizer to produce meat products with different textures and nutritional values. In the processing of whole muscle, minced minced meat and mixed meat products, carrageenan is mostly used as the main stabilizer to maintain the stability of moisture and meat quality. As for various poultry products such as turkey, chicken, and duck, since their protein hydration properties are worse than those of pork, beef, and mutton, they require the assistance of ingredients to maintain the stability of meat quality and moisture. However, although the amount of carrageenan used in deeply processed poultry products is higher than that in pork, beef, and mutton products. However, according to regulations, the overall content of carrageenan in meat products cannot exceed 1% of the total formula. In processing formulas with more moisture, additional protein and other synergists such as glue and starch can usually be added to Controls the effect of carrageenan on meat tissue and moisture stabilization.

(3) Application in dairy products

Carrageenan can cause milk to freeze and play a role in freezing and shaping . It plays a suspending and stabilizing role in cocoa milk, cocoa malted milk and cocoa sugar syrup. In yogurt, cottage cheese and cream, it stabilizes milky mixtures and induces the formation of gels.

In cocoa milk made with cocoa powder, the cocoa powder often precipitates, but adding carrageenan as a stabilizer can evenly disperse the cocoa powder in the milk and prevent the cocoa powder from sinking. Because carrageenan has the unique property of complexing with casein in milk, it can prevent the coagulation and precipitation of dairy products (such as lactic acid drinks, etc.). Carrageenan is the best stabilizer for protein.

(4) Application in fruit wine and beer production

Carrageenan can be used as a clarifying agent and as a foam stabilizer . Fruit wine and beer contain some colloidal substances that make the wine turbid and precipitate. Clarifying agents must be added for clarification. However, it is difficult to completely remove these substances with general clarifying agents, and it takes a long time. Carrageenan serves as an auxiliary filter for clarification . It can make the condensation effect complete and rapid.

(5) Application in the production of artificial protein fiber and artificial meat

To produce artificial protein fibers, the protein solution must go through an aging process to increase the viscosity of the sol, which takes a long time and is costly. Moreover, it is difficult to spin when the protein concentration is low or the protein is impure. After adding carrageenan and algin, the protein solution does not need to undergo an aging process. Low-concentration or unpurified proteins can also be used for spinning, and the strength and water absorption of the spun fibers can also be improved. For example, use defatted peanut kernels as raw material, extract the protein with a dilute alkali solution of pH 8.5, filter to remove the residue, add an appropriate amount of carrageenan and algin to the filtrate, heat, let cool, and then filter. The viscosity of the solution will be between 0.1 and 0.1 0.5 Pa·s, the protein solution is sprayed into the coagulation liquid through the spinneret, and then washed with water to obtain artificial protein fibers. Extruded soybeans, cotton seeds and milk proteins can also be used to produce artificial protein fibers.

With artificial protein fiber, it can be further used to produce artificial meat, and carrageenan is used as a binder. Because carrageenan molecules have sulfate groups, they can combine with protein molecules to form complexes, thereby linking protein fibers together and forming blocks to form artificial meat.

(6) Used in the production of fruit jelly and pudding

Carrageenan has become the preferred gelling agent for jelly due to its unique gelling properties . Fruit jelly made from carrageenan is elastic and has no water-leaking properties.

(7) Used in candy manufacturing

The use of carrageenan to produce transparent fruit gummies has long been produced in my country. It is refreshing and non-sticky to the teeth, and its transparency is better than that of agar-agar, and the price is lower. It is used to produce general hard candies and soft candies, making the products smoother and more elastic, less sticky and more stable.

(8) Used in beverage manufacturing

When some fruit juices are left for a long time, the fine particles contained in them will sink and affect their appearance, even after high-pressure homogenization. Adding carrageenan as a suspending agent and stabilizer can make the fine pulp particles evenly suspended in the juice, greatly slowing down its sinking speed. The shelf life of the juice is longer than that of xanthan gum. At the same time, due to the low viscosity of carrageenan, it is not easy to cause stasis and can improve the taste when drinking.

(9) Used in can manufacturing

It is very effective as a coagulant in ordinary cans and canned fish or meat . Using carrageenan as a coagulant is not limited by the soluble solid content and pH of the product. It can form a gel regardless of whether sugar is added or not, and whether it is acidic, neutral, or alkaline. Its applicability is better than gelatin and Pectin is large.

(10) Used in the manufacture of bread and butter snacks

Fresh bread has a soft and elastic core, but it ages easily when placed. The hardness and brittleness of the bread gradually increase, and the special flavor of the bread gradually disappears. Adding carrageenan (0.012% ~ 0.02%) can increase its water retention capacity . Thereby delaying aging.

Development of carrageenan

my country's "Hygienic Standards for the Use of Food Additives" (GB2760-1996) stipulates that carrageenan can be used in various types of foods in appropriate amounts according to production needs. The Expert Committee on Food Additives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization canceled the limit on the daily intake of carrageenan in 2001, confirming that carrageenan is a safe, non-toxic, and non-side-effect food additive. Its safe and non-toxic properties have been confirmed by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.

Carrageenan was first isolated from seaweed in 1844, and industrial production began in the 1930s. China has been using carrageenan (genus Sequoia) as early as 600 BC, while Ireland has been using the substance since about 400 AD.

Carrageenan was first widely used in European and American countries. Currently, the carrageenan produced in the world ranks second in the edible gum extracted from seaweed.

In recent years, carrageenan has developed rapidly at home and abroad, and the demand has increased significantly. Its unique properties cannot be replaced by other resins, which has led to the rapid development of the carrageenan industry. Now the total annual production of carrageenan in the world has far exceeded the production of agar, and its application prospects are broad .

The research on carrageenan in China started relatively late, and it was not until 1985 that the industrial production of carrageenan in the true sense was formed, 80% of which was used in food or food-related industries. Although there has been great progress in the application of carrageenan in the food field, there is still a certain gap between the basic research on the morphology, structure, qualitative and quantitative analysis of carrageenan, and carrageenan biotechnology and the international research level. After all, our industrialization started late. To narrow the gap and catch up, we can only do it with heart!


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