Understanding and Benefits of Agar-Agar According to Experts
Agar-agar, agar or agarose is a substance usually in the form of a gel prepared from seaweed or algae. In Japan it is known as kanten and by the Sundanese it is called lengkong. The type of seaweed that is commonly processed for this purpose is Eucheuma spinosum (Rhodophycophyta). Several types of seaweed from the Phaeophycophyta group (Gracilaria and Gelidium) can also be used as a source of agar. Agar-agar has been exported from Melaka since 1871.
Structure And Characteristics
Agar is actually a high molecular weight carbohydrate that fills the cell walls of seaweed. It belongs to the pectin group and is a polymer composed of galactose monomers. Agar can be shaped as a powder and traded.
Gels are formed because when heated in water, the gelatin and water molecules move freely. When cooled, the gelatin molecules begin to squeeze together, solidify and form a lattice that encloses the water molecules, forming a solid-liquid colloidal system. This grating is used in agarose gel electrophoresis to inhibit the movement of object molecules due to the voltage difference between the two poles. The density of the agar gel is also strong enough to support small plants so it is very often used as a medium in tissue culture.
Hysteresis is a phenomenon shared by agar and a number of other gelling materials, which is related to the solid-liquid phase transition temperature. Agar begins to melt at 85 °C and begins to solidify at 32-40 °C. So it’s not like water solidifies and melts at the same temperature.
When dissolved in hot water and cooled, agar is like gelatin: a soft solid with many pores in it giving it a ‘chewy’ texture. This property is sensory appeal so that many food preparations involve gelatin: soup thickeners, puddings (jelly), ice cream mixes, anmitsu (in Japan),
Agar-agar is widely known in tropical Asia as a healthy food because it contains high soft fiber and low calories. The high soft fiber content helps expedite the disposal of food waste in the intestines (laxative).
Apart from being used as food, agar is also widely used in the laboratory as a chemical compactor in experiments, a growth medium for plant tissue culture and microbial culture, and also as a stationary phase in gel electrophoresis. In the laboratory, agar (usually packaged in powder form) is known as agar or simply agarose.
Benefits of Agar-Agar for Health
1. Helps Reduce the Risk of Arthritis Disease
Agar is made from natural gelatin which can help to increase joint lubrication and prevent arthritis in women. Agar also helps reduce inflammation caused by joint pain.
2. Can reduce stress
The essential amino acids present in gelatin help in reducing stress. It also helps to reduce signs of mild depression in women.
3. Can be healthy for the skin
Agar contains natural amino acids, which are good for the skin. It helps in the formation of new cells in the body. It also helps prevent the normal signs of aging. Others, gelatin is good for collagen production. Agar is rich in aspartic acid, which helps in the process of cell regeneration.
4. To maintain healthy hair
Agar is a rich source of folic acid, which helps to maintain healthy hair. This helps to prevent the problem of hair thinning and hair loss.
5. Good for Weight Control
Agar is low in calories, so it can maintain an ideal body weight. Unlike other sweet products, it is not too high in sugar content.
6. Helps to Boost Immune
Agar is rich in carbohydrates and B vitamins which help to boost your immunity. Most people prefer to consume jelly after a training session or when they are depressed.
7. Reduces Skin Disorders
Agar has traces of Inositol and Niacin, which help prevent skin disorders. In fact, frequent consumption of gelatin helps reduce skin disorders such as rosacea and acne.