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Future of Guar Gum

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by Ajiteshpreet Singh Bhatia
29 June 2015

In 2012, prices of guar had skyrocketed, owing to a speculation that future production may be hampered by the impending drought in Western India and Pakistan, its primary producers. Oil & Gas companies, fearing a shortage, had stocked up on guar gum as it is an excellent additive for their hydraulic fracturing operations. The resulting shortage of guar gum supply made other end use industries seek for substitutes. Since then, observing the price hike, guar cultivation increased manifold only to encounter a much reduced demand and thus lower prices. This led to the belief that as guar would no longer be a coveted commodity, its production, being no longer economical, would fall and may eventually lead to a shortage. This article aims to present an outlook of the future of the guar gum industry.   Introduction Guar is a small shrubby plant, grown primarily in South-Asia, especially India and Pakistan. It is a drought-tolerant, multi-purpose annual arid legume crop, cultivated during the Kharif season and used for, deriving gum from its seeds, extracting animal fodder from its vegetative part, and green manure. Guar is the source of a natural hydrocolloid, which is cold water-soluble and forms a thick solution at low concentrations. The guar seed consists of three parts: the seed coat (14-17%), the endosperm (35-42%), and the germ (43-47%). The spherical-shaped endosperm contains significant amounts of galactomannan gum (19 to 43% of the whole seed), which forms a viscous gel in cold water. The endosperm is crushed to powder and guar gum is derived, which is the prime marketable product of the plant.   Author: Ajiteshpreet Singh Bhatia

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