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Author Topic: agar agar vs. carrageenan  (Read 28676 times)

Offline jacquelinef353

  • Alumni
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  • Posts: 19
agar agar vs. carrageenan
« on: April 26, 2013, 06:19:27 PM »
what is the difference between agar agar and carrageenan. I noticed that carrageenan is everywhere including commercial yogurt. I also heard a theory about carrageenan can be a problem to the GI. Aren't they both derived from seaweed? What about the heavy metal contamination? Would like to learn more about those two ingredients. Thanks!

Offline Catherine McConkie

  • Former Bauman College Faculty Member
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  • Posts: 121
Re: agar agar vs. carrageenan
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 10:39:42 PM »
Both agar and Irish moss are Rhodopyta, or red seaweeds. Agar is produced from various red seaweeds which have been freeze dried then formed into bars called kanten. The kanten bars are sometimes broken up into flakes or ground into a powder. I find you have to be careful with using agar powder because it can make the gel tough. Irish moss is it's own plant, Irish moss. Both have strong gelling capabilities.

Carragheenans [or carrageenans] are gel forming polysaccharides found naturally in the whole plant form of Irish moss. Carrageenan is used commercially as a stabilizer in products ranging from dairy to toothpaste. Extraction of carrageenan for high volume commercial use involves the use of strong acids which can be irritating to the GI tract and potentially carcinogenic.

It's always best to source seaweed from a reputable company that practices sustainability and harvests responsibly. I like Mendocino sea vegetable but I'm sure a google search will lead you to several others websites.

Good luck!