Alginates

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Abstract

Alginate is one of the most significant of all the hydrocolloids used in food. In order to understand why this is so, this chapter describes those alginate characteristics which are crucial for food applications. Emphasis is placed on how the nature of brown algae used for alginate extraction determines the alginate chemistry and thereby the functional properties and applicability of alginates. Knowledge recently obtained from elaborate genetic engineering and biotechnological research (Ertesvåg, 1994) describes a possible way of controlling alginate chemistry by the use of ‘manmade’ alginate modifying enzymes.