Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Agar and Gelatine

agar-powderAgar and gelatine are very commonly used as gelling agents in food all over the world. But one must not assume the two to be essentially the same thing. Other than use in the food industry, both the substances are used in huge varieties of industries such as the pharmaceutical industry or even for biological purposes. The main purpose of this article is to differentiate between the substances and to make the use of the two substances more clear.

Physically gelatine is a solid substance which is colourless, translucent and brittle. It is more or less tasteless and is extracted from the collagen present in animal tissues. It is a commonly used agent in food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetic industry etc. In the food industry gelatine is majorly used for production of candies, marshmallows etc. Use of gelatine in the food industry is rather limited as it often poses health risks to people. In the pharmaceutical industry it is very commonly used to make medicine capsules that make their intake easier. It also plays an important role in photography ‘“ silver halide crystals are held between gelatine emulsions in all types of photographic films and papers.

Agar could be generalised as vegetarian gelatine. It is basically extracted from seaweed and is extensively used all over Japan to make desserts and is very often also used in thickening of soups. Though used chiefly in making food, since the past century its use has evolved beyond being just used a food ingredient. It is basically an unbranched polysaccharide which is chiefly extracted from cell walls of seaweed and also certain types of red algae. Chemically its main constituent is galactose. In Microbiology it is often used as a medium of growth used for bacteria and sometimes also fungi. Certain grades of agar are also used in plant biology and are supplemented with certain essential minerals and vitamins that help in plant growth.

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