Scientists reveal new uses for Gum Arabic

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)


Khartoum, May 23 (Sudanow) - Scientific studies have recently revealed new uses for Gum  Arabic , categorizing it as a food product that provides the human body with important nutrients and contributes to combating many diseases.

Scientists have revealed that the Gum  Arabic , which we have used as a resin over the years, is actually a food supplement of great importance for the body and also a food for the good bacteria as it supports it in the face of harmful bacteria.

Dr.  Isam Siddiq, a Sudanese expert in Gum  Arabic  and its uses, said that Gum  Arabic  is a prebiotic material and constitutes an important food supplement that provides the body with energy and helps enhancing the performance of the intestine.  Prebiotics are also fed upon by the probiotics, the bacteria responsible of discharging the waste, toxins and excess fat from the body. Probiotics also strengthen the immunity system and combat the harmful bacteria. They live in the colon and appendix.

A vital food:

As it has been mentioned before, the only food for these bacteria is the prebiotic which is naturally found in only two types of food and with enough rates. These two types of food are the mother’s milk (%10) and Gum  Arabic  (%85). Any lack in these two types results in concentration of these bacteria in the colon, matter which will lead to outbreak of such diseases as constipation and diarrhea. Today, %40 of the northern hemisphere population is suffering from constipation and %40 of the southern hemisphere population is suffering from intestine disorders.

Dr. Siddiq further pointed to a new fact, affirming that promotion for wheat and barley and their extracts together with beans, lentils and excessive use of vegetables and industrial juice as prebiotics have led to spread of diseases such as diabetic (one person out of three in the Arab cities) and  fatness (one out of three in the western countries).

The biggest damage h

as resulted from the people’s excessive use of fibers, the same name


given to the food of the bacteria responsible of discharging the human waste. This was due to the

recommendation made by the western nutrition organizations and pharmaceutical plants for the people to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fibers daily, particularly that the consumers are not aware that the probiotics are the ones needed to be excessively used and not the processed fibers of wheat and barley


 “It is natural for the doctors, whose educational syllabuses do not cover nutrition science, to recommend their patients, particularly the one suffering from constipation, diabetic and heart diseases, to increase the use of fibers without giving them details. The patient then will not find but the processed fibers of wheat and barley together with other alternatives such as vegetables”.

Safe material:

Prof. John R. Lopin, the scientific Advisor of the AidGum  Foundation, said that the Gum  Arabic  is a resin and at the same time a prebiotic that produces short-term fatty acid which provides the body with energy and helps in enhancing the function of the intestine.

He added that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have tested the use and safety of Gum  Arabic  and declared, via a joint committee of experts and the Food Constitution Authority, that the Gum  Arabic  material is very safe to use.

The World Food Organization’s Constitution Committee published the first specification for the Gum  Arabic  in 1987 and defined Gum  Arabic  as the Gum  of Sudan’s acacia tree, Kordufan’s acacia, according to the Sudanese Standards and Meteorology Organization (SSMO).

The SSMO says that the Gum  Arabic  has many functional characteristics which enhance its addition to the different food materials. The local industry should be directed to Gum  Arabic  as an additive. It is a natural material and constitutes a good alternative for the chemical food additives and can also be sued in medical and pharmaceutical industries.

It can further be used at home because it is safe and does not constitute a threat for the consumer. In fact, it has many health advantages and contributes to treatment of some diseases.

The SSMO also says that the Committee on Food Additives, which belongs to the Word Food and Agriculture Organization’s Constitution Committee, approves the use of Gum  Arabic  in the food of medical usage.

Medical advantages:

Prof. Omaima Mohi-eddin Sabir, a pediatrician, said that the medical research conducted on Gum  Arabic  have proved that it is effective in treatment of many diseases such as the intestine diseases.

She added that it has proved incredibly effective in treatment of sensitive skin diseases, constipation, diarrhea, dryness, nerve colon, diabetic, oestomalacia of children, hyperactivity, cholesterol and others.

She explained that there were researches in this respect that were conducted at Ahmed Qassim and Ja’far ibn Aouf hospitals in Sudan and at al-Qasr al-Aini in Egypt that would be presented at the Arab Doctors’ conference, to be held in Sudan soon.

Ustaz Hamid Al-Amin, a lecturer at the National College, in a study on the medical uses of Gum  Arabic , cited the advantages of Gum  Arabic  in treatment of other diseases such as flu and diarrhea in some African countries. He also reviewed contribution of Gum  Arabic  in reducing the infection rates of heart diseases and cholesterol besides increasing the insulin efficiency.

Contradiction of interests:

Dr.  Isam Siddiq says that the international food and pharmaceutical companies, which make trillions of U.S Dollars annually, have worked and still working to hide the truth about the Sudanese Gum  Arabic  and its distinguished food and medical characteristics so that the demand for the Gum  Arabic  would not increase on one part and their products and high returns would not be threatened on the other part.

In addition to the Gum  Arabic , which has been regarded as the richest natural source of prebiotics in the world besides the mother’s milk, there is also the Inulin which is produced by grand European companies in Belgium and others where many research have been conducted on it, matter which made the World Gastrointestinal Organization (WGO), the International Scientific Association of Probiotic and Prebiotic (ISAPP)    and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to promote for it without the Gum  Arabic .

This encouraged the producers of the industrial prebiotic, the inulin (Inulin/ FOS/GOS) to recommend using 5 to 10 grams of it daily. When the Gum  Arabic  was re-discovered as a prebiotic by the Sudanese Savanna House and the Italian Dalco, the Savanna house recommended that the adult should use the minimum limit recommended by the international food and medicines companies, i.e. 18 gram per day for the adult above 18 years of age, 12 gram per day for the age category 12-17 and 9 grams per day for those aged 9 years and below of their products of probiotics. Their circles then intensified their activities to produce industrial alternatives or produce the probiotic itself at the lab and then inject it into yogurt. A counter campaign was launched by the inulin companies and the western companies which produce suitable food to carry the prebiotics to limit the consumption of the Gum  Arabic  (the natural prebiotic).


Dr. Siddiq explains that the price of one ton of the industrial prebiotic powder (the industrial Gum  or inulin) ranges between 50000 to 200000 U.S Dollars while the ton of the Gum  Arabic  powder as a resin material does not exceed 3000 dollars.

He added that the international demand for the prebiotic powder is not less than 20 million tons, adding that the inulin currently covers only one million tons, which means that there is 19 million tons as gap in prebiotic powder, matter which indicates that the competition is heating up between the companies to fill in this gap.

This competition is evident in the fact that grand food companies such as Nestle, Danone, and CNI have joined the pioneers of prebiotic producers including the Italian Dalco and the Sudanese Savanna House. The recognition of the Gum  Arabic  as a natural prebiotic by Britain’s conference in September 201 and by Lebanon conference in October 2010 was also among the reason behind the heating competition among the different companies. This indicates that there are promising investment opportunities and strong competition over investment in the Gum  Arabic  sector in Sudan.

Two conference, international companies:

Dr. Siddiq revealed that two international conferences were held during September 20-24, 2010 on probiotic and prebiotic. The first was held during September 20-22, 2010 at the British Roxum city and was organized by scientists of resin chemistry.

He said the scientists have discovered that the Gum  Arabic  was not just a resin material but almost a complete food material because it is a dual soul food for both man and the living bacteria. This was revealed in tow papers, the first, title “Gum  Arabic , a Dual Soul Food” presented to the conference by the Sudanese Savanna House , and the second, titled “Gum  Arabic , a prebiotic for Health”, presented by the English Kerry Company . Most of the papers presented in the conference focused on the uses of Gum  Arabic .

However, the second conference, he said, was convened during September 22-24 in Sharm-Eshiekh in Egypt and was organized by the pediatricians.





Ironically, big child food companies participated in the conference where more than four papers were presented focusing on the natural and industrial sources of prebiotic without mention the Gum  Arabic .

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


Recent tweets

FOLLOW Us On Facebook

Contact Us

Address: Sudan News Agency (SUNA) Building, Jamhoria Street, Khartoum - Sudan

Mobile:+249 909220011 / +249 912307547

Email: info@sudanow-magazine.net, asbr30@gmail.com