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Xanthan gum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Xanthan gum[1]
other names
E 415
CAS number


Molecular formula




Except where noted otherwise, data

are given for materials in their
standard state (at 25 C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide used as a food additive and rheology modifier [2]. It is
produced by fermentation of glucose or sucrose by the Xanthomonas campestris
Synthesis originates from glucose as substrate for synthesis of the sugar nucleotides
precursors UDP-glucose, UDP-glucuronate, and GDP-mannose that are required for
building the pentasaccharide repeat unit. This links the synthesis of xanthan to the
central carbohydrate metabolism. The repeat units are built up at
undecaprenylphosphate lipid carriers that are anchored in the cytoplasmic membrane.
Specific glycosyltransferases sequentially transfer the sugar moieties of the nucleotide
sugar xanthan precursors to the lipid carriers. Acetyl and pyruvyl residues are added as
non-carbohydrate decorations. Mature repeat units are polymerized and exported in a
way resembling the Wzy-dependent polysaccharide synthesis mechanism of
Enterobacteriaceae. Products of the gum gene cluster drive synthesis, polymerization,
and export of the repeat unit.[3]
The polysaccharide is prepared by inoculating a sterile aqueous solution of
carbohydrate(s), a source of nitrogen, dipotassium phosphate, and some trace elements.
The medium is well-aerated and stirred, and the polymer is produced extracellularly into
the medium. The final concentration of xanthan produced will vary greatly depending on
the method of production, strain of bacteria, and random variation. After fermentation
that can vary in time from one to four days, the polymer is precipitated from the medium
by the addition of isopropyl alcohol and dried and milled to give a powder that is readily
soluble in water or brine.

It was discovered by an extensive research effort by Allene Rosalind Jeanes and her
research team at the United States Department of Agriculture, which involved the
screening of a large number of biopolymers for their potential uses. It was brought into
commercial production by the Kelco Company under the trade name Kelzan in the early
1960s.[4] It was approved for use in foods after extensive animal testing for toxicity in
1968. It is accepted as a safe food additive in the USA, Canada, Europe, and many other
countries, with E number E415.
One of the most remarkable properties of xanthan gum is its ability to produce a large
increase in the viscosity of a liquid by adding a very small quantity of gum, on the order
of one percent. In most foods, it is used at 0.5%, and can be used in lower
concentrations. The viscosity of xanthan gum solutions decreases with higher shear
rates; this is called pseudoplasticity. This means that a product subjected to shear,
whether from mixing, shaking or even chewing, will thin out, but once the shear forces
are removed, the food will thicken back up. A practical use would be in salad dressing:
the xanthan gum makes it thick enough at rest in the bottle to keep the mixture fairly
homogeneous, but the shear forces generated by shaking and pouring thins it, so it can
be easily poured. When it exits the bottle, the shear forces are removed and it thickens
back up, so it clings to the salad. Unlike other gums, it is very stable under a wide range
of temperatures and pH.
In foods, xanthan gum is most often found in salad dressings and sauces. It helps to
prevent oil separation by stabilizing the emulsion, although it is not an emulsifier.
Xanthan gum also helps suspend solid particles, such as spices. Also used in frozen
foods and beverages, xanthan gum helps create the pleasant texture in many ice
creams, along with guar gum and locust bean gum. Toothpaste often contains xanthan
gum, where it serves as a binder to keep the product uniform. Xanthan gum is also used
in gluten-free baking. Since the gluten found in wheat must be omitted, xanthan gum is
used to give the dough or batter a "stickiness" that would otherwise be achieved with the
gluten. Xanthan gum also helps thicken commercial egg substitutes made from egg
whites, to replace the fat and emulsifiers found in yolks. It is also a preferred method of
thickening liquids for those with swallowing disorders, since it does not change the color
or flavor of foods or beverages.
In the oil industry, xanthan gum is used in large quantities, usually to thicken drilling
mud. These fluids serve to carry the solids cut by the drilling bit back to the surface.
Xanthan gum provides great "low end" rheology. When the circulation stops, the solids
still remain suspended in the drilling fluid. The widespread use of horizontal drilling and
the demand for good control of drilled solids has led to the expanded use of xanthan
gum. Xanthan gum has also been added to concrete poured underwater, to increase its
viscosity and prevent washout.
In cosmetics, xanthan gum is used to prepare water gels, usually in conjunction with
bentonite clays. It is also used in oil-in-water emulsions to help stabilise the oil droplets
against coalescence. It has some skin hydrating properties.
Xanthan gum is a common ingredient in fake blood recipes, and in gunge.
Xanthan gum and health
Xanthan gum is a "highly efficient laxative", according to a study that fed 15g/day for 10
days to 18 normal volunteers.[5] Some people react to much smaller amounts of xanthan
gum, with symptoms of intestinal gripes and diarrhea; there are no studies yet
investigating whether this is allergy or not.
Evaluation of workers exposed to xanthan gum dust found evidence that respiratory
symptoms were associated with exposure to xanthan gum dust.[6]
Since xanthan gum is sometimes produced by a bacterium that is fed corn to grow, some
people allergic to corn may also react to it[citation needed]. Yellow Phrygian Husk is a

common source of the bacterium from which xanthan gum is created.[7] However, some
xanthan gum is not corn-derived.


Rabu, 24 Desember 2008 Published by Farmasi | Bahan | Alam
Bahan yg digunakan : biji dan herba (kandungan kimia berbeda).
Farmakologi :
Ekspektoran & antitusif : dekok herba meningkatkan sekresi mukus trakhea & bronki
(sifat ekspektoran dari plantagin), peak 3-6 jam, durasi 6-7 jam. Tapi plantagin juga
menyebabkan depresi pusat pernafasan shg nafas menjadi dalam dan lambat (efek
antitusif). Biji Plantago juga bersifat ekspektoran dan antitusif.
Antibakteria : ekstrak air atau alkohol
Gastro Intestinal : Ekstrak daun mengandung plantaglucide yg dpt mencegah ulkus
peptikus, memperlambat gerakan lambung, mengurangi kontraksi (spasm) usus.
Kardiovaskular : Plantagin dosis rendah memperlambat denyut jantung, menaikkan
amplitudo jantung dan tekanan darah; dosis besar hipotensif dan cardiac arrest (putus
denyut jantung).
Efek klinik
- Infeksi saluran pernafasan
Ekstrak tan Plantago (ekivalen 30 g serbuk/hari) diberikan pd pasien bronkitis kronis
(usia > 50 th; n = 175), selama 1-2 minggu, efektivitas 78%.
- Hepatitis-jaundice akut
Tanaman Plantago segar atau dekok (60 g/hari), menyebabkan nafsu makan normal
dalam 5-7 hari, sakit kuning sembuh dlm 14 hr, dan fungsi liver normal. Efektivitas 9599%.
- Dysentery
Dekok 100% daun segar Plantago, 60-90 ml/hari, untuk terapi disentri akut (n=43) dan
kronis (n=45). Demam turun dlm 1-2 hari.
Nyeri abdomen, lendir dan nanah dlm feses hilang dalam 10 hari, dan bakteria feses
negatif. Efektivitas 84%.
Dekok juga efektif untuk disentri amuba pada anak2, simtom hilang dalam 2 hari, dan
feses menjadi normal.
- Dispepsia
Biji Plantago diberikan pada 63 anak2, dimana feses menjadi normal (n=53). Sembuh
dalam 2-3 hari.
Sediaan dan dosis : Biji disangrai, kemudian ditumbuk untuk pemberian PO. Untuk
bayi 4-12 bln : 0.5 g/dose, balita 1-2 th : 1 g/dose diberikan 3-4 kali sehari.
Dosis disesuaikan dengan usia.

Psyllium plant (Plantago ovata)

Flower of Plantago ovata, commonly known as "blonde psyllium" and "isabgol".

Flower of Plantago arenaria

(syn.: P. psyllium L., P. indicia L. PLIN2,

P. scabra Moench), commonly known as "French" or "dark psyllium."

Not to be confused with Cilium. For the mucilaginous health product, see Psyllium seed
Psyllium or Ispaghula is the common name used for several members of the plant
genus Plantago whose seeds are used commercially for the production of mucilage.
The genus Plantago contains over 200 species. P. ovata and P. psyllium are produced
commercially in several European countries, the former Soviet Union, Pakistan, and
India. Plantago seed, known commercially as black, French, or Spanish psyllium, is
obtained from P. psyllium L., also known as P. arenaria. Seed produced from P. ovata is
known in trading circles as white or blonde psyllium, Indian plantago, or Isabgol. Isabgol,
the common name in Pakistan and India for P. ovata, comes from the Persian words asb
and ghol, meaning "horse flower," which is descriptive of the shape of the seed. India
dominates the world market in the production and export of psyllium. Psyllium research
and field trials in the U.S. have been conducted mainly in Arizona and Washington state.
Recent interest in psyllium has arisen primarily due to its use as an ingredient in highfiber breakfast cereals, which is claimed to be effective in reducing blood cholesterol
levels in those who consume it. Several studies point to a cholesterol reduction attributed
to a diet that includes dietary fiber such as psyllium. Research reported in The American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that the use of soluble-fiber cereals is an effective
and well-tolerated part of a prudent diet for the treatment of mild to moderate
hypercholesterolemia. Research also indicates that psyllium incorporated into food
products is more effective at reducing blood glucose response than use of a soluble-fiber
supplement that is separate from the food. Although the cholesterol-reducing and
glycemic-response properties of psyllium-containing foods are fairly well documented,
the effect of long-term inclusion of psyllium in the diet has not been determined. Cases of
allergic reaction to psyllium-containing cereal have been documented.
Psyllium is mainly used as a dietary fiber, which is not absorbed by the small intestine.
The purely mechanical action of psyllium mucilage absorbs excess water while
stimulating normal bowel elimination. Although its main use has been as a laxative, it is
more appropriately termed a true dietary fiber and as such can help reduce the
symptoms of both constipation and mild diarrhea.
Psyllium is produced mainly for its mucilage content, which is highest in P. ovata.[citation
needed] The term mucilage describes a group of clear, colorless, gelling agents derived
from plants. The mucilage obtained from psyllium comes from the seed coat. Mucilage is
obtained by mechanical milling/grinding of the outer layer of the seed. Mucilage yield
amounts to about 25% (by weight) of the total seed yield. Plantago-seed mucilage is
often referred to as husk, or psyllium husk. The milled seed mucilage is a white fibrous
material that is hydrophilic, meaning that its molecular structure causes it to attract and
bind to water. Upon absorbing water, the clear, colorless, mucilaginous gel that forms
increases in volume by tenfold or more.
The United States is the world's largest importer of psyllium husk, with over 60% of total
imports going to pharmaceutical firms for use in products such as "Metamucil". In
Australia, psyllium husk is used to make "Bonvit" psyllium products. In the UK, ispaghula
husk is used in the popular constipation remedy "Fybogel". In India, psyllium husk is
used to make "Gulab Sat Isabgol" psyllium products. Psyllium mucilage is also used as a
natural dietary fiber for animals. The dehusked seed that remains after the seed coat is
milled off is rich in starch and fatty acids, and is used in India as chicken feed and as
cattle feed.
Psyllium mucilage possesses several other desirable properties. As a thickener, it has
been used in ice cream and frozen desserts. A 1.5% weight/volume ratio of psyllium

mucilage exhibits binding properties that are superior to a 10% weight/volume ratio of
starch mucilage. The viscosity of psyllium mucilage dispersions are relatively unaffected
between temperatures of 20 and 50 C (68 and 122 F), by pH from 2 to 10 and by salt
(sodium chloride) concentrations up to 0.15 M. These physical properties, along with its
status as a natural dietary fiber, may lead to increased use of psyllium by the foodprocessing industry. Technical-grade psyllium has been used as a hydrocolloidal agent
to improve water retention for newly-seeded grass areas, and to improve transplanting
success with woody plants.
It is suggested that the isabgol husk is a suitable carrier for the sustained release of
drugs and is also used as a gastroretentive carrier due to its swellable and floatable
nature. The mucilage of isabgol is used as a super disintegrant in many formulations.
Growth habit
Plantago ovata is an annual herb that grows to a height of 3046 cm (1218 in). Leaves
are opposite, linear or linear lanceolate 1 cm 19 cm (0.39 in 7.5 in). The root system
has a well developed tap root with few fibrous secondary roots. A large number of
flowering shoots arise from the base of the plant. Flowers are numerous, small, and
white. Plants flower about 60 days after planting. The seeds are enclosed in capsules
that open at maturity.
Environment requirements
P. ovata is a 119- to 130-day crop that responds well to cool, dry weather. In India, P.
ovata is cultivated mainly in North Gujarat as a "Rabi" or postrainy season crop
(October to March). During this season, which follows the monsoons, average
temperatures are in the range of 1530 C (5986 F), and moisture is deficient. Isabgol
(P. ovata), which has a moderate water requirement, is given 5 to 6 light irrigations. A
very important environmental requirement of this crop is clear, sunny and dry weather
preceding harvest. High night temperature and cloudy wet weather close to harvest have
a large negative impact on yield. Rainfall on the mature crop may result in shattering and
therefore major field losses.
Isabgol grows best on light, well drained, sandy loams. The nutrient requirements of the
crop are low. In North Gujarat, the soil tends to be low in nitrogen and phosphorus and
high in potash with a pH between 7.2 and 7.9. Nitrogen trials under these conditions
have shown a maximum seed yield response with the addition of 22 kg/hectare
(20 lb/acre) of nitrogen.
Seed preparation and germination
P. ovata has small seeds; 1,000 seeds weigh less than 2 grams. Under ideal conditions
of adequate moisture and low temperature 10 to 20 C (50 to 68 F), 30% of seeds
germinate in 5 to 8 days. The seed shows some innate dormancy (3 months) following
harvest. Attempts to eliminate this dormancy period by scarification, or by exposure to
wet or dry heat, cold, ethylene, or carbon dioxide, are ineffective. Post-dormancy seeds
show reliable germination in excess of 90% at 29 C (84 F), with lower rates of
germination as temperature is increased.
The fields are generally irrigated prior to seeding to achieve ideal soil moisture, to
enhance seed soil contact, and to avoid burying the seed too deeply as a result of later
irrigations or rainfall. Maximum germination occurs at a seeding depth of 6 mm (1/4 in).
Emerging seedlings are frost sensitive, therefore planting should be delayed until

conditions are expected to remain frost free. Seed is broadcast at 5.5 to 8.25 kg/hectare
(5 to 7.5 lb/acre) in India. In Arizona trials, seeding rates of 22 to 27.5 kg/ha (20 to 25
lb/acre) resulted in stands of 1 plant/25mm (1 inch) in 15 cm (6 inch) rows produced
excellent yields. Weed control is normally achieved by one or two hand weedings early in
the growing season. Control of weeds by pre-plant irrigation that germinates weed seeds
followed by shallow tillage may be effective on fields with minimal weed pressure.
Psyllium is a poor competitor with most weed species.
Plantago wilt "Fusarium oxyspirum" and downy mildew are the major diseases of
Isabgol. White grubs and aphids are the major insect pests.
The flower spikes turn reddish brown at ripening, the lower leaves dry and the upper
leaves yellow. The crop is harvested in the morning after the dew is gone to minimize
shattering and field losses. In India, mature plants are cut 15 cm above the ground and
then bound, left for a few days to dry, thrashed, and winnowing.
Harvested seed must be dried below 12% moisture to allow for cleaning, milling, and
storage. Seed stored for future crops has shown a significant loss in viability after 2
years in storage.
Yield potential and performance results
The contract price for 95% purity psyllium husk set by the Indian Basic Chemical,
Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Export Promotion Council for April 1988 was $1.65/lb
F.O.B. ($3.63/kg). This price is up from $1.14/lb ($2.51/kg) set in 1985. The average
seed yield of P. ovata in India often exceeds 1 tonne/hectare (1000 lb/acre). Net yield of
95% purity husk after milling would be 275 kg/ha (250 lb/acre). Average gross revenue
from milled product at 1988 prices would be $412/acre ($1030/ha). The costs of
production and milling in the U.S. are unknown but would certainly need to be
determined in order to analyze the potential profitability of a commercial psyllium
IUPAC name
other names
CAS number








Molecular formula


Molar mass

182.17 g mol1


1.489 g/cm

Melting point

95 C

Boiling point

296 C

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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 2
Infobox references

This article needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced materia
removed. (July 2009)
Economics of production and markets
The U.S. currently imports and consumes approximately 8,000 tonnes of psyllium
annually. A continued expansion of this market seems likely due to the high level of
interest in natural dietary fibers. No variety has been tested in the Upper Midwest but
it would seem that the varieties that are grown in India would not be suited to
production in this area. A major cultural problem limiting psyllium production in this
area is the shattering characteristic of the mature crop. Some success has been
achieved by cross-breeding high yielding Indian varieties with varieties that are more
shatter resistant. Until shatter resistant varieties are available, production of Isabgol
is likely to be restricted to environments that consistently provide a cool dry harvest
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol
that the human
body metabolises slowly. It is obtained by
of glucose changing the aldehyde
group to an
additional hydroxyl group.
Sorbitol is a sugar substitute. It may be listed under the inactive ingredients listed for
some foods and products. Sorbitol is referred to as a nutritive sweetener because it
provides dietary energy: 2.6 kilocalories (11 kilojoules) per gram versus the average 4
kilocalories (17 kilojoules) for carbohydrates. It often is used in diet foods (including diet
drinks and ice cream), mints, cough syrups, and sugar-free chewing gum.
It also occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus Sorbus.
Sorbitol can be used as a non-stimulant laxative via an oral suspension or enema. It
works by drawing water into the large intestine, thereby stimulating bowel movements.[2]
Sorbitol has been determined safe for use by the elderly, although it is not recommended
without consultation with a clinician.[3]
Medical applications
Sorbitol is used in bacterial culture media to distinguish Escherichia coli 0154:H7 from
most other strains of E. coli[citation needed].
Sorbitol, combined with kayexalate, helps the body rid itself of excess potassium ions in
a hyperkalaemic state.[4] The kayexalate exchanges sodium ions for potassium ions in
the bowel, while sorbitol helps to eliminate it.
Health care, food, and cosmetic uses
Sorbitol often is used in modern cosmetics as a humectant and thickener[citation

needed]. Sorbitol often is used in mouthwash and toothpaste. Some transparent gels can
be made only with sorbitol, as it has a refractive index sufficiently high for transparent
Sorbitol is used as a cryoprotectant additive (mixed with sucrose and sodium
polyphosphates) in the manufacture of surimi, a highly refined fish paste most commonly
produced from Alaska (or walleye) pollock (Theragra chalcogramma).[citation needed] It
is also used as a humectant in some cigarettes.[5]
Sorbital sometimes is used as a sweetener and humectant in cookies and other foods
that are not identified as "dietary" items.
Medical importance
Even in the absence of dietary sorbitol, cells produce sorbitol naturally.
Too much sorbitol trapped in eye and nerve cells can damage these cells, leading to
retinopathy and neuropathy. Substances that prevent or slow the action of aldose
reductase are being studied as a way to prevent or delay these complications of
diabetes. Aldose reductase is the first enzyme in the sorbitol pathway. This pathway is
responsible for the conversion of glucose to sorbitol, and of galactose to galactitol. Under
conditions of hyperglycemia, sorbitol accumulation occurs. Aldose reductase inhibitors
prevent the accumulation of intracellular sorbitol..[6] Sensitivity to the substance may
result in severe pain among individuals who are intolerant of it and exhibit adverse
symptoms from sorbitol.
Diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy may be related to excess sorbitol in the cells of the
eyes and nerves. The source of this sorbitol in diabetics is excess glucose, which goes
through the sorbitol-aldose reductase pathway.[7]
In some human enzyme deficiencies such as galactosemia, sorbitol excess arises and
can cause damage to the body. In diabetes mellitus, enzyme deficiency in the lens of the
eye may cause sorbitol accumulation and cataracts[citation needed].
Adverse medical effects
Sorbitol also may aggravate irritable bowel syndrome,[8] and similar gastrointestinal
conditions, resulting in severe abdominal pain for those affected, even from small
amounts ingested.
Overdose effects
Ingesting large amounts of sorbitol can lead to abdominal pain, gas, and mild to severe
diarrhea.[citation needed] Sorbitol ingestion of 20 grams (0.7 oz) per day as sugar-free
gum has led to severe diarrhea leading to unintended weight loss of 11 kilograms (24 lb)
in a woman originally weighing 52 kilograms (110 lb); another patient required
hospitalization after habitually consuming 30 grams (1 oz) per day.[9]
Compendial status
Food Chemical Codex [10]
European Pharmacopoeia [11] 6.1 [12]
British Pharmacopoeia 2009 [13]
Japanese Pharmacopoeia 15[citation needed]
Miscellaneous uses
A mixture of sorbitol and potassium nitrate has found some success as an amateur solid
rocket fuel.[14]
Sorbitol is identified as a potential key chemical intermediate [15] from biomass
resources. Complete reduction of sorbitol opens the way to alkanes such as hexane
which can be used as a biofuel. Sorbitol itself provides much of the hydrogen required for
the transformation.
19 C6H14O6 13 C6H14 + 36 CO2 + 42 H2O

The above chemical reaction is exothermic; 1.5 mole of sorbitol generates

approximately 1 mole of hexane. When hydrogen is co-fed, no carbon dioxide is
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Systematic (IUPAC) name

(2R,3R,4R,5R)-Hexane-1,2,3,4,5,6hexol[citation needed]
CAS number


ATC code

A06AD16 B05BC01






Chemical data



Mol. mass



eMolecules & PubChem

Pharmacokinetic data




Hepatic, negligible.

Half life

100 minutes


Renal: 90%

Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.

C: (USA)

Legal status

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Mannitol is an organic compound with the formula (C6H8(OH)6). This polyol is used as
an osmotic diuretic agent and a weak renal vasodilator. It was originally isolated from the
secretions of the flowering ash, called manna after their resemblance to the Biblical food,
and is also be referred to as mannite and manna sugar.[1]
Mannitol is a sugar alcohol, that is, it is derived from a sugar by reduction. Other sugar
alcohols include xylitol and sorbitol. Aqueous solutions of mannitol are mildly acidic and
sometimes such solutions are treated to raise the pH. Chemical Abstracts Registry
Numbers for mannitol are 123897-58-5, 69-65-8 (D-Mannitol), 75398-80-0, 85085-15-0,
and 87-78-5 (mannitol with unspecified stereochemistry).
Medical applications
Mannitol is used clinically to reduce acutely raised intracranial pressure until more

definitive treatment can be applied, e.g., after head trauma. This use is controversial,[2]
[3][4] though reference to it is still made in texts published as recently as 2009.[5] It is
also used to treat patients with oliguric renal failure. It is administered intravenously, and
is filtered by the glomeruli of the kidney, but is incapable of being resorbed from the renal
tubule, resulting in decreased water and Na+ reabsorption via its osmotic effect.
Consequently, mannitol increases water and Na+ excretion, thereby decreasing
extracellular fluid volume.
Mannitol can also be used to open the blood-brain barrier by temporarily shrinking the
tightly coupled endothelial cells that make up the barrier. This makes mannitol
indispensable for delivering various drugs directly to the brain (e.g., in the treatment of
Alzheimer's disease). Mannitol is commonly used in the circuit prime of a heart lung
machine during cardiopulmonary bypass. The presence of mannitol preserves renal
function during the times of low blood flow and pressure, while the patient is on bypass.
The solution prevents the swelling of endothelial cells in the kidney, which may have
otherwise reduced blood flow to this area and resulted in cell damage.
Mannitol is also being developed by an Australian pharmaceutical company as a
treatment for cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis and as a diagnostic test for airway
hyperresponsiveness. The mannitol is orally inhaled as a dry powder through what is
known as an osmohaler and osmotically draws water into the lungs to thin the thick,
sticky mucus characteristic of cystic fibrosis. This is intended to make it easier for the
sufferer to cough the mucus up during physiotherapy. The critical characteristic of the
mannitol is its particle size distribution.
Mannitol is also the first drug of choice for the treatment of acute glaucoma in veterinary
medicine. It is administered as a 20% solution IV. It dehydrates the vitreous humor and
thus lower the intraocular pressure. However, it requires an intact blood-ocular barrier to
Mannitol can also be used to temporarily encapsulate a sharp object (such as a helix on
a lead for an artificial pacemaker) while it is passed through the venous system.
Because the mannitol dissolves readily in blood, the sharp point will become exposed at
its destination.
Mannitol may be administered in cases of severe Ciguatera poisoning. Severe
ciguatoxin, or "tropical fish poisoning" can produce stroke-like symptoms.
Mannitol is the primary ingredient of Mannitol Salt Agar, a bacterial growth medium, and
is used in others.
In oral doses larger than 20 g, mannitol acts as an osmotic laxative, and is sometimes
sold as a laxative for children[citation needed].
In foods
Mannitol is also used as a sweetener for people with diabetes. Since mannitol has a
positive heat of solution, it is used as a sweetener in "breath-freshening" candies, the
cooling effect contributing to the fresh feel. The pleasant taste and mouthfeel of mannitol
also makes it a popular excipient for chewable tablets.[7]
In illicit drugs
Mannitol is sometimes used as an adulterant or cutting agent for heroin,
methamphetamines or other illicit drugs. In popular culture, when it is used in this
manner, it is often referred to as baby laxative.[8]
The three studies[9][10][11] which initially found that high-dose mannitol was effective in
cases of severe head injury have been the subject of a recent investigation.[12] Although
several authors are listed with Dr. Julio Cruz, it is unclear whether the authors had
knowledge of how the patients were recruited. Further, the Federal University of So
Paulo, which Dr. Cruz gave as his affiliation, has never employed him. Currently,

therefore, the Cochrane review recommending high-dose mannitol[13] has been

withdrawn pending re-evaluation, as there is some evidence that mannitol may worsen
cerebral edema.[14]
Mannitol is contraindicated in patients with anuria and Congestive Heart
Failure[citation needed]..
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Agar (disambiguation).
Mizuykan - a popular Japanese red bean jelly made from agar
Agar or agar agar is a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed. Historically and in a
modern context, it is chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Japan, but in
the past century has found extensive use as a solid substrate to contain culture medium
for microbiological work. The gelling agent is an unbranched polysaccharide obtained
from the cell walls of some species of red algae, primarily from the genera Gelidium and
Gracilaria, or seaweed (Sphaerococcus euchema). Commercially it is derived primarily
from Gelidium amansii.
Agar (agar agar) can be used as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener
for soups, in jellies, ice cream and Japanese desserts such as anmitsu, as a clarifying
agent in brewing, and for paper sizing fabrics.
Chemically, agar is a polymer made up of subunits of the sugar galactose. Agar
polysaccharides serve as the primary structural support for the algae's cell walls.
The word "agar" comes from the Malay word agar-agar (meaning jelly). It is also known
as kanten, China grass, or Japanese isinglass. The various species of alga or
seaweed from which agar is derived are sometimes called Ceylon moss. Gracilaria
lichenoides specifically is referred to as agal-agal or Ceylon agar.[1]
In Malay and Indonesian, it is known as agar-agar. In Japanese, it is known as kanten
() meaning "cold weather," referring to the fact that it is harvested in the winter
months. In Mandarin Chinese as hici () meaning "ocean vegetable",
hizoqingzh () or dngfn (). In Taiwanese Hokkien it is known as
chhi-in () meaning "vegetable swiftlet," i.e., similar in texture to the nest of the
edible-nest swiftlet used in bird's nest soup. In Korea, it is known as hancheon (). In
the Philippines, it is known as gulaman in Tagalog, Apayao, Bikol, and Pangasinan,
guraman in Ilokano and gurguraman in Sambali.[2] In Thai it is known as won (
). In
Tamil and Telugu it's called as paal kasuv.
Agar consists of a mixture of agarose and agaropectin. Agarose is a linear polymer, of
molecular weight about 120,000, based on the -(1->3)--D-galactopyranose-(1->4)-3,6anhydro--L-galactopyranose unit, the major differences from carrageenans being the
presence of L-3,6-anhydro--galactopyranose rather than D-3,6-anhydro-galactopyranose units and the lack of sulfate groups. Agaropectin is a heterogeneous
mixture of smaller molecules that occur in lesser amounts. Their structures are similar
but slightly branched and sulfated, and they may have methyl and pyruvic acid ketal
substituents. They gel poorly and may be simply removed from the excellent gelling
agarose molecules by using their charge. The quality of agar is improved by alkaline
treatment that converts of any L-galactose-6-sulfate to 3,6-anhydro-L-galactose.
Agarose molecules have molecular weights of about 120,000. The gel network of
agarose contains double helices formed from left-handed threefold helices. These
double helices are stabilized by the presence of water molecules bound inside the

double helical cavity [508]. Exterior hydroxyl groups allow aggregation of up to 10,000 of
these helices to form suprafibers.[3]
Agar exhibits hysteresis, melting at 85 C (358 K, 185 F) and solidifying from 32-40 C
(305-313 K, 90-104 F).[4]
100mm diameter petri dishes containing agar jelly for bacterial culture
Main article: Agar plate
Nutrient agar is used throughout the world to provide a solid surface containing medium
for the growth of bacteria and fungi. Agar is typically sold commercially as a powder that
can be mixed with water and prepared similarly to gelatin before use as a growth
medium. Though less than 1% of all existing bacteria can be grown successfully,[citation
needed] the basic agar formula can be used to grow most of the microbes whose needs
are known. More specific nutrient agars are available, because some microbes prefer
certain environmental conditions over others.
Motility assays
As a gel, an agarose medium is porous and therefore can be used to measure
microorganism motility and mobility. The gel's porosity is directly related to the
concentration of agarose in the medium, so various levels of effective viscosity (from the
cell's "point of view") can be selected, depending on the experimental objectives.
A common identification assay involves culturing a sample of the organism deep within a
block of nutrient agar. Cells will attempt to grow within the gel structure. Motile species
will be able to migrate, albeit slowly, throughout the gel and infiltration rates can then be
visualized; whereas non-motile species will only show growth along the now-empty path
introduced by the invasive initial sample deposition.
Another setup commonly used for measuring chemotaxis and chemokinesis utilizes the
under-agarose cell migration assay whereby a layer of agarose gel is placed between a
cell population and a chemoattractant. As a concentration gradient develops from the
diffusion of the chemoattractant into the gel, various cell populations requiring different
stimulation levels to migrate can then be visualized over time using microphotography as
they tunnel upward through the gel against gravity along the gradient.
Molecular biology

The structure of an agarose polymer.

Agar is a heterogeneous mixture of two
classes of polysaccharide: agaropectin and
agarose.[5] Although both polysaccharide
classes share the same galactose-based backbone, agaropectin is heavily modified
with acidic side-groups, such as sulfate and pyruvate. The neutral charge and lower
degree of chemical complexity of agarose make it less likely to interact with
biomolecules, such as proteins. Gels made from purified agarose have a relatively large
pore size, making them useful for size-separation of large molecules, such as proteins or
protein complexes >200 kilodaltons, or DNA fragments >100 basepairs. Agarose can be
used for electrophoretic separation in agarose gel electrophoresis or for column-based
gel filtration chromatography.
Agar plates are commonly supplemented with antibiotics for use selecting bacteria
expressing plasmids. Commonly used antibiotics include: ampicillin (final concentration =
100 micrograms/ml); kanamycin (final concentration = 50 micrograms/ml).

Plant biology
Physcomitrella patens plants growing axenically in vitro on agar plates (Petri
dish, 9 cm diameter).
Research grade agar is used extensively in plant biology as it is
supplemented with a nutrient and vitamin mixture that allows for seedling
germination in petri dishes under sterile conditions (given that the seeds are sterilized as
well). Nutrient and vitamin supplementation for Arabidopsis thaliana is standard across
most experimental conditions. Murashige & Skoog (MS) nutrient mix and Gamborg's B5
vitamin mix are generally used. A 1.0% agar/0.44% MS+vitamin dH20 solution is suitable
for growth media between normal growth temps.
The solidification of the agar within any growth media (GM) is pH-dependent, with an
optimal range between 5.4-5.7. Usually, the application of KOH is needed to increase the
pH to this range. A general guideline is about 600 l 0.1M KOH per 250 ml GM. This
entire mixture can be sterilized using the liquid cycle of an autoclave.
This medium nicely lends itself to the application of specific concentrations of
phytohormones etc. to induce specific growth patterns in that you can easily prepare a
solution containing the desired amount of hormone, add it to the known volume of GM
and autoclave to both sterilize and evaporate off any solvent you may have used to
dissolve the often polar hormones in. This hormone/GM solution can be spread across
the surface of petri dishes sown with germinated and/or etiolated seedlings.
Experiments with the moss Physcomitrella patens, however, have shown that choice of
the gelling agent agar or Gelrite - does influence phytohormone sensitivity of the plant
cell culture.[6]
Agar-Agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart originally eaten in Japan. White and
semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form.
It can be used to make jellies, puddings and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in
water until the solids dissolve. One then adds sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or
vegetables, and pours the liquid into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable
aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer on a cake.
Agar-agar is approximately 80% fiber, so it can serve as an intestinal regulator. Its bulk
quality is behind one of the latest fad diets in Asia, the kanten diet. Once ingested,
kanten triples in size and absorbs water. This results in the consumer feeling more full.
Recently this diet has received some press coverage in the United States as well. The
diet has shown promise in obesity studies.[7]
One use of agar in Japanese cuisine is anmitsu, a dessert made of small cubes of agar
jelly and served in a bowl with various fruits or other ingredients. It is also the main
ingredient in Mizuykan, another popular Japanese food. (See very top image.) In Indian
cuisine, agar agar is known as "China grass" and is used for making desserts. In

Burmese cuisine, a sweet jelly known as kyauk kyaw (

[taotau]) is made from
Other uses
Agar is used:
As an impression material in dentistry.
To make salt bridges for use in electrochemistry.
In formicariums as a transparent substitute for sand and a source of nutrition.
In many microbiological tests in which it is used as "food" for the bacteria.