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New report explores agar market

March 30, 2015
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Agar in three forms: powder, flakes and gelatinous.

Agar in three forms: powder, flakes and gelatinous.

Anew report by Future Market Insights explores the agar market — with a global industry analysis and opportunity assessment 2015-2025. Agar is a gelatinous substance that is usually extracted from algae. It is derived from polysaccharide agarose, which is a crucial supporting structure in the cell walls of agarophytes which belongs to the Rhodophyta (red algae) phylum. Polysaccharide agarose is easily released from the algal cell walls on boiling.

In chemical terms agar is a polymer that is formed from the subunits of galactose. Agar is the mixture that is a result from two crucial biochemicals, which includes the agaropectin and agarose. For the commercial purpose, agar is primarily manufactured from Gelidiumamansii, which is an economically important species of red algae, mainly found in the shallow coast of many eastern and southwestern countries of Asia.

Agar has been classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, the food industry is the largest consumer of agar.

The ability of the agar gels to remain stable even at high temperatures makes them suitable to be used as thickeners and stabilizers in icings, pie fillings and meringues. Thus, the growing baking food industry is expected to augment the overall growth of the agar market globally.

Agar being tasteless is a perfect ingredient in the food industry as it does not interfere with the flavor of the food produced. Agar is also used in gelled fish and meat and is often preferred to gelatin, owing to its gel strength and high melting temperature.

Agar is also used in pharmaceuticals as a smooth laxative. It also finds applications in the various research institutes that are oriented toward the study of microbiological organisms.

Thus, the growing pharmaceutical companies coupled with the development of research institutes focused towards microbial studies are expected to boost the global demand for the agar market. Although, unless new applications of agar are soon developed, it would become difficult to witness any huge growth numbers in the demand for agar in the near future. Also the development of various cheaper substitutes for agar is further expected to hamper the growth of the market.

Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest producer of agar due to the easily available raw material – the red algal species in eastern and southwestern Asian countries

North America is expected to be the second largest producer of agar. It is widely used in the food consumed by the North American population, which plays a crucial role in increasing the overall demand in the region.

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