Xanthan was originally discovered in a USDA programme in 1959 to look at novel polysaccharide producing organisms that might have some commercial potential. Several different Xanthomonas cultures have been studied for their xanthan producing properties. It is believed that the original culture of Xanthomonas Campestris was deposited at the USDA in 1953. The unique rheology was first noted in the literature by (Jeanes et al). Kelco-AIL (Alginate Industries ltd) commercialised the process and xanthan gum was approved for use in foods in 1969.
Xanthan has been allowed in foods since 1969 by the FDA and 1974 by the EU where it is known by its e-number E415. It has become one of the most successful hydrocolloids largely due to its high functionality, particularly in difficult environments such as acid, high salt and high shear stress.
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