Synergies of Carrageenan in Starch Based Systems.
Synergies of Carrageenan in Starch Based Systems.

Carrageenan is obtained by extraction with water or alkaline water of certain species of the class Rhodophyceae (red seaweed). Important species are Eucheuma cottonii, which yields kappa-carrageenan, and Eucheuma spinosum which yields iota-carrageenan.

Carrageenan shows thixotropic behavior. Carrageenan solutions and gels are stable at neutral and slightly acid system. The combination of elevated temperature and acid conditions will produce hydrolysis of carrageenan resulting in a loss of viscosity and/or gel strength.

In meat systems, carrageenan helps to retain water in the interstitial spaces of the gel formed, achieving a higher hardness in the final product.

Carrageenan have strong interaction with milk proteins, being able to form very firm gels at very low concentrations. This synergism is given by the direct interaction between carrageenan and k-casein. This interaction takes place in a wide range of pH and is strengthened by cations.

Carrageenan increase the hardness, brittleness, gelation and melting temperatures of their gels in water with the addition of potassium and calcium ions.

Sodium and potassium salts of polyphosphates and citrates enhance solubility of carrageenan in cold and hot solutions and reduce their viscosity due to divalent cations chelation.

Synergism with Starch Iota carrageenan increases the viscosity of starch systems by as much as 10 times the viscosity of the starch alone. When kappa carrageenan is added to starch systems no increase is noted. Carrageenan has a strong functional synergism with starches and can be used in starch-based foods to retain moisture. Mixed carrgeenan/starch systems have unique properties which are a cost-effective answer to improving the quality of high starch formulations. The strong functional interaction between starch and carrageenan allows the starch content of soups, pie fillings and pudding to be reduced whilst improving the organoleptic properties of the system. Additionally, starch/carrgeenan combinations offer resistance to shear degradation and low processing viscosity while maintaining excellent stability during thermal cycling.

Figure compares the effects of shear on a starchonly system with starch/iota carrageenan and starch/kappa carrageenan systems. The starch system exhibits a loss in its viscosity when subjected to shear. The presence of 0.5% kappa or iota carrageenan allows a starch system to recover its pre-shear viscosity.

Carrageenan may be useful in altering the textural, mouthfeel and processing properties of a starch system. The increased viscosity will allow processors to reduce the overall starch content, often by as much as 35-40%, and improve the texture and flavor release of the finished product.

Go to Top