Sodium Alginate A New Favorite of Human Health

Sodium Alginate—A New Favorite of Human Health and

A Natural plant polysaccharide From Ocean


In 1881, a natural polymer hydrocolloid was first extracted from algae plants by British chemist Stanford and later it was named sodium alginate gel. It took nearly 50 years from first discovery to commercial application of sodium alginate gel. In 1929, American Kelco Company began the mass production of sodium alginate gel as a commodity and in 1934 sodium alginate gel was for the first time used as the stabilizing agent of ice cream.

Afterwards, the sodium alginate gel industry continued to develop and grow in China, Japan, Britain, Norway and other countries. Especially since the 1980s, due to the distinctive properties such as gelling, thickening and emulsifying functions, the application of sodium alginate gel in the food industry has been developed and its application rapidly extends to bio-medicine, textile printing and dyeing, papermaking, modern agriculture, household chemicals and other fields. For nearly a century, a large number of researches have been conducted on the physicochemical properties, production techniques and application of sodium alginate gel and thus have promoted the sustainable development of the seaweed industry. Sodium alginate gel has gradually become a fine product to raise people’s living and health standards and received more and more attention. The Japanese call food rich in sodium alginate gel longevity food and the Americans call it a fantastic food additive.


According to the definitions of food additives in every country, food additives can be divided to two categories: natural and chemosynthetic. The so-called natural additive means that the additive itself is the ingredient of food such as vitamins A, vitamin E, and beta carotene. Sodium alginate gel is a natural food additive existing in marine plants like brown seaweed and giant kelp.


As far back as 1994, the JECFA (Joint FAO WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) declared that there was no limit to the ADI (acceptable daily intake) of sodium alginate gel. Meanwhile, CAC (Codex Alimentarius Commission) also ruled in CODEX STAN 192-1995 that according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), alginate gels, sodium alginate gel, potassium alginate gel, ammonium alginate gel and calcium alginate gel are all allowed to use in food and the usage amount has no restrictive provision.


In 2000, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) listed sodium alginate gel as GRAS ,Generally Recognized as Safe (FDA-21CFR 173.310,184.1724).


In March 2000, Standards for Use of Food Additives set no limits to the range of application and usage amount of alginate gels, sodium alginate gel, potassium alginate gel, ammonium alginate gel and calcium alginate gel, that is, the usage amount is unlimited in all kinds of food.


In conclusion, from the international and foreign advanced standards, brown algae such as sodium alginate gel and potassium alginate gel is a kind of safe and reliable food additive without limit to ADI and with no excessive harm to human health.


As a food additive, sodium alginate gel has unique functions and properties in maintaining and enhancing the nutritional value of food, improving the sensory shape and properties of food, being advantageous to food processing. It is widely used in functional food, meat products, bionic food, beverages, cold food and other industries. Sodium alginate gel has been confirmed as a very safe food additive by a large number of tests all over the world.

Social Share Counters

On March 12th, 2013, posted in: Products and Techniques, Sodium Alginate by Tags:

Comments are closed.