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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Food and drink biodiversity:

Thickners and stabilisers


Ceratonia siliqua (Carob)

This tree grows to about 15 m in height and originates as a cultivated species from the Arabian Peninsula. It is grown from seed in many parts of the world. The pods are ground up and used as a chocolate substitue. However, there is also a gum, termed 'tragasol', is extracted from the seeds and used as a thickner and stabiliser in food products such as ice cream, salad dressings, mustard sauces, processed meats and cheeses. This gum also has cosmetic, pharmacological and industrial uses.