Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 17, pp 6853–6866 | Cite as

Microbial gums: introducing a novel functional component of edible coatings and packaging

  • Mahmood Alizadeh-Sani
  • Ali EhsaniEmail author
  • Ehsan Moghaddas KiaEmail author
  • Arezou Khezerlou


In recent years, the accumulation of synthetic plastics has led to the development of a serious environmental problem. Nowadays, biodegradable films and coatings have been identified as a new approach to solve this problem by preparing renewable, abundant, low-cost materials. Gums are considered a large group of polysaccharides and polysaccharide derivatives that can easily form viscous solutions at low concentrations. Gums are mainly soluble in water and are composed of sugars like glucose, fructose, and mannose. These compounds are categorized into three groups: plant-origin gums, seaweed-based gums, and microbial gums. Microbial gums are listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration and have a broad range of physicochemical properties suitable for various pharmacy, medicine, and food applications. In the food industry, they can be used as gelling, viscous, stabilizing, and thickening agents. Among the various materials that can potentially improve the properties of biodegradable packaging films, microbial gums such as gellan, xanthan, pullulan, bacterial cellulose, and curdlan have been the subject of numerous studies. These gums can be extruded into films and coatings with considerable barrier properties against the transport of moisture and oxygen. Microbial gums, due to their microbiological stability, adhesion, cohesion, wettability, solubility, transparency, and mechanical properties, can be used as edible films or coatings. Also, these gums can be applied in combination with bioactive compounds that induce the shelf-life extension of highly perishable products. This review focuses on the properties of films and coatings consisting of xanthan, curdlan, pullulan, gellan, and bacterial cellulose.


Gellan Pullulan Bacterial cellulose Water vapor permeability Tensile strength Percentage of elongation at break 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement/conflict of interest

The authors, whose names appear on the submission, declare that they have contributed sufficiently to the scientific work and therefore share collective responsibility and accountability for the results. This manuscript has not been published or presented elsewhere in part or in entirety, and is not under consideration by another journal. All the authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to your esteemed journal.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food Safety and Hygiene, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Students Research Committee, Department of Food Sciences and Technology, Faculty of Nutrition and Food SciencesTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Nutrition and Food SciencesTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  4. 4.Department of Food Science and TechnologyMaragheh University of Medical SciencesMaraghehIran

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