Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide with many industrial uses, including as a common food additive. It is an effective thickening agent, emulsifier, and stabilizer that prevents ingredients from separating. It can be produced from simple sugars using a fermentation process and derives its name from the species of bacteria used, Xanthomonas campestris.
Xanthan gum was discovered by Allene Rosalind Jeanes and her research team at the United States Department of Agriculture, and brought into commercial production by CP Kelco under the trade name Kelzan in the early 1960s. It was approved for use in foods in 1968 and is accepted as a safe food additive in the USA, Canada, European countries, and many other countries, with E number E415, and CAS number 11138-66-2.
Xanthan gum derives its name from the species of bacteria used during the fermentation process, Xanthomonas campestris.