As you probably guessed, the name of this additive comes from its marine origin. In fact, sodium alginate is extracted from brown algae found on the coasts of the North Atlantic, Asia and South America. Its discovery was made by a chemist named E.C.C. Stanford, who described the molecule for the first time in 1881.
The food industry uses this algae extract in many different processes and, depending on the desired properties, manufacturers prefer several varieties of marine plants (Laminaria hyerborea, Laminaria digitata, Laminaria japonica, Ascophyllum nodosum, Ecklonia maxima).
Alginate is a polysaccharide, or a sugar chain, from the cell wall of algae. First extracted in the form of alginic acid, the product is then neutralized with salts that make it soluble and stable in a water solution. The solution goes through sifting, centrifuging and filtration before being precipitated in alginate salt.
Industry takes advantage of many of sodium alginate’s properties. Its resistance to heat makes it an ingredient of choice in bakeries to make cream fillings or fruit jellies, allowing them to keep their shape during cooking. In addition, the thin film created around the gel or cream prevents it from affecting cake moisture. Its thickening effect in aqueous solutions is used to create thicker cheese sauces that adhere better to pasta. Alginate is also used as a stabilizer in ice cream by decreasing the size of crystals and obtaining a smoother texture. It also prevents the separation of emulsions such as salad dressings or mayonnaise. Gels form more easily when alginate is added to products with higher calcium concentrations.
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re-shapes chili pepper powder or pulp that can then be used to stuff olives.
SODIUM ALGINATE is used to make very reliable dental impressions due to its fine grain size.
SODIUM ALGINATE is used to make replicas of human body parts during filming of special effects.
SODIUM ALGINATE encapsulates certain probiotics so that they reach the intestines without being destroyed by stomach acid.