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Carrageenan Processing
more Yield and stable process

Carrageenan is a major ingredient in the food Industry, pharmaceutical Industry, cosmetics industry, and others and is used known for its gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties. Among these, food-industry owns the highest share of carrageenan in terms of usage, especially in dairy products. Furtherly, carrageenan is also used in the meat industry, water-based foods, and pet foods. 

There are two different methods of producing carrageenan, based on different principles. The original method was only used until the late 1970s-early 1980s with no relevance to the current process. In the second method, the industrial standard now, the carrageenan is never actually extracted from the seaweed. Rather the principle is to wash everything out of the seaweed that will dissolve in alkali and water, leaving the carrageenan and other insoluble matter behind. This insoluble residue, consisting largely of carrageenan and cellulose, is then dried and sold as semi-refined carrageenan (SRC). Because the carrageenan does not need to be recovered from solution, the process is much shorter and cheaper than the original one. 

There are three types of carrageenans based on the number of Sulphates per disaccharide namely kappa carrageenan (one Sulphate), Iota Carrageenan (two sulphates) and lambda carrageenan (three sulphates).

Both Kappa and Iota Carrageenan form gels with potassium and calcium salts. The so called standardization process allows to adjust the gel strength and properties of the overall gel performance. Aqueous solutions of both carrageenans must be heated above 60°C for the carrageenan to dissolve, and after addition of the salt, the gel forms as the solution cools. For kappa, as little as 0.5 percent in water and 0.2 percent in milk is sufficient to form gels.
Kappa forms gels most strongly with potassium salts, followed by calcium salts. Potassium gives a rigid, elastic gel while calcium produces a stiff, brittle gel. Iota forms gels most strongly with calcium salts, followed by potassium salts – the reverse of kappa reactivities.

precipitation or semi refined process

standardization process