• Factors affecting the quality of Acacia senegal gums

      Al-Assaf, Saphwan; Hamouda, Yasir (University of Chester, 2017-04)
      Gum arabic is a natural gummy exudate from acacia trees and exhibits natural built-in variations commonly associated with hydrocolloids. This study is concerned with the determination of factors which could influence its properties and functionality. These factors include origin (location, soil type, rainfall), different collections, age of the trees and storage condition. Previous studies acknowledged the influence of some of these factors but somehow lack providing definitive answers to questions being asked by the end user and required for the development of Gum arabic industry in Sudan. Local knowledge as well as the various stages of gum collection and processing were reviewed in order to provide a clear background and the justification for the experimental design. In this study samples were collected from six plantations located in the west and east regions in Sudan. Samples were collected from trees of different age (5, 10, 15 and 20 years old) and also from different picking interval (1-4). Each sample was divided into three portions (UK, Khartoum and Port Sudan) and stored for 5 years in order to determine the effect of the respective location. Various analytical parameters (% loss on drying, Optical rotation, % protein, intrinsic viscosity, molecular weight and molecular weight distribution) were measured to fully characterise the gum samples and to determine their functionality (emulsification). The results obtained for all samples were consistent with those previously reported in the literature (see Chapter 4). The only exception, identified in a number of samples from the western region, is the high proportion (~30%) of high molecular weight fraction termed arabinogalactan-protein complex (AGP). The results clearly demonstrated significant variations between plantations located in western region compared with the eastern region. However, the variations between the plantations within the same region are statistically not significant. High values of % protein, viscosity, Mw and % AGP were obtained from the 1st pick, from both regions, and then significantly decreased thereafter to the fourth pick. Samples from west region in Sudan, from 1st and 2nd pick and from tree age (15) years gave the highest viscosity, molecular weight, % AGP and superior emulsification performance compared to other samples from different tree ages. The regression statistical analysis for the physiochemical properties correlation with emulsification performance demonstrated the role of % AGP to be the most influential factor followed by viscosity. The major finding of this study is the effect of storage condition on the properties and functionality of Acacia senegal. An increase in the molecular weight for all stored samples (for 5 years) irrespective of region was evident and statically significant. However, this increase was more prominent for samples from the western region compared to the eastern region. The AGP fraction was increased by the storage treatment up to 40% in Port-Sudan, 20% in Khartoum-Sudan and 15% in UK. The result clearly demonstrated that the temperature and humidity are the crucial factors to induce the natural maturation process in acacia gums. Statistical analysis (linear regression) suggested statistically significant models and equations to predict and explain the variations in the physiochemical and functional properties based on the environmental factors, picking set and age of the tree.