For the production of gum arabic, the exudate of two species of Acacia is used, Acacia seyal whose gum is commonly called Talha, and Acacia senegal (otherwise known as Kordofan or verek), whose gum is named Hashab.
The arabic gums of Acacia Seyal and Acacia Senegal have significant differences, which cause them to be used in different areas.
First, the primary difference lies in the different ratio of sugars forming the polysaccharide and glycoprotein chains;
The second difference, on the other hand, concerns the different molecular weight, which also substantially changes their application characteristics.
The last substantial difference regards the different rotational power: in fact, gum arabic produced from Acacia senegal is levogyra, while that derived from Acacia seyal is dextrorotatory.
Senegal, in fact, is used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. In these sectors, due to its inherent characteristics, the use of Seyal is incorrect.
Both types, however, are used not only in enology, but also in the industrial and cosmetic sectors.
Food and beverage industry
In this area, gum arabic coded as food additive E414 plays multiple roles:
- prevents crystallization of sugars;
- acts as a structuring agent and emulsifier, helping an even distribution of fatty substances;
- it is used as a thickener, humectant, solidifying agent, texturizer, adhesive, and elasticizer.
It is therefore used in various foods, such as cake frostings, puddings, sorbets, ice cream, candies, chewing gum, and more.
In addition, gum arabic has excellent solubility in water, as well as a neutral odor and taste.
Its use in oenology is geared toward general precipitation protection, acting as a colloid for coloring matter, tartrates and cases.
The two different types that can be used in enology have specific functions for precipitation protection, because the chemical characteristics of the different polymer chains have a different interaction with the wine, and essedielle works to produce extremely precise tools for the prevention of these defects.
In addition, all gum arabics have a distinct ability to soften wines, mitigating the sensation of astringency.
In addition, the Arabic gum is also used in industrial processes, serving as a natural suspension agent for paints, and as a glue, providing an all-natural alternative to the use of chemical additives.