Xanthan is a complex carbohydrate (polysaccharide) that consists of glucose, mannose and glucuronic acid. It is used as a food additive (gelling agent) in order to stabilize liquid solutions, e.g. in the production of puddings, sauces and desserts (sometimes together with locust bean gum, also see mouthfeel).

Xanthan is produced by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium and was approved for use in foods in the USA in 1968, as it is in Australia, New Zealand and the European Union (E415).

Physiological effects of Xanthan

The intake of xanthan is regarded as safe. Because of the fact that it is not digested by the enzymes of the digestive tract, high doses of xanthan can lead to diarrhea, because a part of the carbohydrates are utilized by the gut flora.

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