Xanthan gum: how did this stuff get from the oilrig into bread?

Posted in Life Bites |

By Ingrid Eissfeldt, owner, Artisan Bread Organic (ABO)

Ingrid Eissfeld


I wonder how many people really know what xanthan gum is.  Let me enlighten you.  Xanthan gum ­– also known as ‘E415’ – is produced by the fermentation of glucose or sucrose from corn, wheat, soy or whey with the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris (the bacterium responsible for black rot on cabbage).  It was discovered by a research team at the United States Department of Agriculture, and is largely used to thicken drilling mud in the oil industry to prevent blowouts.  Not conducive to raising your appetite for that early morning slice of gluten-free toast you picked up from the supermarket or local grocery store, hey?  Nevertheless, xanthan gum was approved for use in foods after extensive animal testing for toxicity in 1968.

I’m not so sure they envisaged back then that by 2012 we would be consuming vast quantities in the western world in gluten-free breads and a myriad of other products.

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