Agar –Agar is a “gelatinous substance that is derived from the cell wall of red seaweed most notably “Tengusa” [Gelidiaceae] and “Ogonori” [Gracilaria].”In India Agar-Agar is sold under the name of “China grass” and “Kanten” in Japan. It has been discovered accidently by a Japanese innkeeper in the 17th century .
It is a mixture of two components the linear polysaccharide agarose and heterogenous mixture of smaller molecules known as agropectin. Agar replaced gelatin as the preferable medium used in laboratories to grow bacteria as it was found that Agar is not degraded by the bacteria. In India seaweed is found in coastline of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. In an FAO report India produces 100-160 tonnes per year agar –agar from 800-1300 tonnes of seaweed Gelidiella Acerosa and Gracilaria spieces. Being a good stabilizing and gelling characteristics as well as unique holding ability of large amount of moisture. Agar-Agar is gaining application in several food products in Indian subcontinent because 80% of total population is vegetarian and they likely to prefer food item whose ingredient is extracted from vegan source.
Gelling Propertes Of Agar-Agar
Agar-Agar is double helical structure , aggregates to frame three dimensional structure that is why it has capacity of holding large amount of water which makes them unique from other hydrocollides . They are either manufacture in gel form or flakes consist of 0.5% to 1.0% concentration . It shows interesting properties like hysteresis and syneresis . Hysteresis interval of agar-agar is a novel property that uses mostly in food preparation. The gelling strength of agar –agar is depended on ph, time, concentration of sugar, as ph decrease gel weakens and concentration sugar increase makes gel hard and less cohesive.
Health Benefits Of Agar- Agar
1. Weight Loss: Incorporation Of Agar-Agar In Food Items Helps In Weight Loss Because Of Its Low Calorie, Fat, Sugar And Carbohydrate Contents. Agar Travels Through The Body Absorbs Glucose In Stomach And Passes Quickly Through Digestive System Inhibits Storage As Fat.
2. Digestive Health: Due To Its Fibrous Property ‘’Hydrophilic Collide “Absorbs Toxins From Gut And Gastrointestinal Tract Which Carries Out The Toxic Waste From The Body Or We Can Say A Detoxifying Agent
3. Bone Health: Calcium And Magnesium Plays Essential Role In Contributing Bone Health Or Maintaining Bone Density. Women Of 30 Years Of Age Group Or Above Usually Complain Back Pain And Joints Pain Due To Decline In Bone Density. Thus, Agar-Agar Has Good Ratio Of Calcium And Magnesium
4. Therapeutic Function : Being Free From Starch Agar- Agar Is Use As Laxative For Hyperbilirubinemia And For Glucose Intolerant In Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Useful In Reducing Inflammation, Relief To Lungs, Calm The Liver Moreover Beneficial To Thyroid Patients.
5. Brain Health: Agar: Agar Is Important For Brain Development In Babies And Children Through Infant Supplement, As It Is Made Up Of Small Units Of Simple Sugar Molecules “Galactose” Which Ofteh Referred As “Brain Sugar”Galactose Plays Vital Role In Removing Neurotoxic Compounds From Brain Of Alzheimer Patient.
Apart From Healthy Aspects Agar- Agar are:
- Low In Cost:Agar-Agar Is Affordable For People Belongs To Low Income Group , It Is One Of The Basic Components In Western Countries Food Preparation.Addition Of This In Cookies , Desserts Making Make More Affordable And Nutritious Food Item
- Lower In Calories: Though It Is Use As Sweet Dish But Its Calorie Content Is Near To Negligible. Maintains Weight On Eating Desserts, Cookies,Ice Creams Etc .That Is Why Most Of The Asian Countries Use Agar – Agar As Dessert.
- Preservative Free: It Is Safe For Public Consumption As It Is Obtained From Natural Source I.E.Seaweed.
- Restricted Fromage And Religion: There is no certain restriction on agar – agar to be use as food ingredient on the basis of religious belief. It is suitable for all age group consumption. Agar- Agar is a boon to vegetarians and vegans as they do not use gelatin because it is extracted from animal tissues, skin and connective tissue.
- Agar-Agar is colorless and odourless substance but used world wide ,in Saudi Arabia agar – agar is used for making jelly pudding consist of coconut milk, sugar, water , food coloring and agar-agar served during Ramzan to break fasts. In Japan, agar-agar is used to make famous sweet dish called ‘Anmitsu’ it is serve in small cubes with fruits and Japanese icecream called ‘Mochi’.In Russian countries agar-agar is added in jams and marmalades whereas in India they are used as standard thickening agent in icecreams[0.5%] , jellies ,cakes, cookies and gluten free breads with satiating property , every year people in India are becoming gluten intolerant because of modern lifestyle therefore gluten bread could be a boon to these people and fitness freaks
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