Sunday, October 17, 2021

History of carrageenan

Carrageenan is the leading seaweed derived food hydrocolloid and is used widely for its textural functionality, particularly in dairy products, jellies and confectionery and in cooked processed meat products.

Archaeologists estimate humans have been harvesting seaweed for nearly 14,000 years. Evidence of red seaweed’s medicinal benefits in China can be traced back to 600 BC, and it was originally used as a food source around 400 BC on the British Isles.

British pharmacist Stanford in 1862 coined the name "carrageenin" for the gelatinous material extracted by water from Chondrus crispus. The name was later changed to carrageenan so as to comply with the “−an” suffix for polysaccharides.

It has been used in Ireland since 400 AD as a gelatin and as a home remedy to cure sick calves along with human colds, flu and congestion.

The gelling potential of carrageenan was first raised from a scientific perspective in 1819 by English botanist Dawson Turner, who was studying what he believed to be the brown seaweed Fucus crispus, in fact it was Chondrus crispus.

The first successful extraction of carrageenan was performed in the United States in 1844 by C. Schmidt who isolated this hydrocolloid from C. crispus biomass. In 1871 a process for large scale isolation of carrageenan by alcohol precipitation process was patented by G. Bourgade.
History of carrageenan