A.F. Suter and Co. Ltd

Shellac, Waxes, Gums and Resins


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Karaya Gum – Gum Karaya – Sterculia – Sterculia Urens Gum

European Union Approved Food Additive: E416 – Natural Gum – Emulsifier (thickener/stabiliser)

Direct Food Substance Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS): 21 CFR 184.1349

Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans, Halal and Kosher

CAS Number: 9000-36-6
EINECS Number: 232-539-4


Karaya is a vegetable gum produced as an exudate from the Gum Karaya tree, Sterculia urens, which is native to India and surrounding countries. The gum is harvested by making incisions in the wood (tapping) and collecting the exudate, which forms lumps once it dries on contact with the air and sunlight.


Karaya is sold in the form of lumps or a powder and is available in technical and food grades. It is an acid polysaccharide that swells when it absorbs water, forming a gel (hydrocolloid). It is sometimes used as substitute for Tragacanth.


Food Industry

Karaya is used as a food additive, acting as an emulsifier and thickener in sauces, ice cream and beverages. It is also used in baking as a binder and stabiliser.

Confectionery Industry

Karaya is used as an ingredient in candies and chewing gum.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Karaya is used as a thickener in medications and a bulk-forming laxative to relieve constipation. It is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac, although there is little evidence to support this.

Printing & Packaging Industry

In the Paper industry, Karaya is used as a binding agent in paper manufacturing.

Other Industries

In the Dental industry, Karaya is used as a denture adhesive.

In the Personal Care industry, Karaya is used as a thickening agent, as well as an adhesive agent in hairsprays.