Guar Gum

The Guar or cluster bean (Cyamopsistetragonoloba) is an annual legume . It is also known as Gavar, Guwar or Guvar bean, guarkernmehl, guaran, goma guar, gomme guar and galactomannan. The seed pods grow in clusters giving guar the common name cluster-bean. Guar is a native to the Indian subcontinent. Guar is grown mainly in India, Pakistan, United States and also in some part of Africa and Australia. India and Pakistan have distinct advantage of agro-climatic conditions for the cultivation of guar though it is also successfully grown in U.S.A., South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Zaire and Sudan. Guar is a drought-tolerant, multi-purpose annual arid legume crop cultivated mainly during Kharif season and used for extracting gum from seeds, animal fodder from vegetative part, and also used as green manure.

In old times, Guar was only used as rich protein to feed cattle. It is also used as green vegetable in India. After Second World War there was major shortage of locust bean gum which adversely affected the textile and paper industries. At that time Guar Gum was found as the most suitable substitute for scarce locust bean gum. In 1953 the extraction technology of guar gum was commercialized in USA and India.

A gum extracted from the guar beans forms a gel in water, commonly referred to as guar gum. Guar is extremely drought resistant and thrives in semi-arid regions where few plants thrive. When limited moisture is available the plant will stop growing but does not die.

The guar plant grows from 2 feet to 7 feet high. The plant’s flower buds start out white and change to a light pink as the flower opens. The flowers turn deep purple and are followed by fleshy seed pods which ripen and are then harvested.


Cultivation of Guar:

A growing season of guar is 14 to 16 weeks and requires reasonably warm weather and moderate flashing rainfall with plenty of sunshine. Too much rain can cause the plant to become more 'leafy' resulting thereby reducing the number of pods or the number of seeds per pod which affects the size and yield of seeds. The crop is generally sown after the monsoon rainfall in July to early August and is harvested in late October early November. The Guar is a naturally rain fed crop. Depending on the monsoon rainfall the total size of Guar crop varies from year to year. After harvesting, when the pods become dry through sunlight, they are beaten off and during this process, the seeds come out of the pods.

Sowing Months - June July August

Crop growth Months - September October November

Peak Arrival Months - November December January

Lean Arrival Months - March April May

The highest growing states in India are Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat followed by Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh are growing on a smaller scale.


Processing of Guar:

Brief process of Guar seeds to Splits:

The Guar gum is mechanically extracted by roasting, differential attrition, sieving and polishing of Guar seeds. When the polished endosperm are removed and separated from the fine layer of fibrous material a husk and refined Guar splits are obtained. The sieved gum is then passed through the blenders to make it homogenous and later it is packed.

By Product of Guar Seed after processing:

By Product
(%)
Splits
28-30
Churi-Korma
66-68
Dust
4

Brief process of Guar splits to Powder:

These refined splits are then pulverized and treated and processed according to the required specialty grade products for usage in industries specified. After pulverization, sieving is done to get the required mesh size i.e. fine, coarse, etc. and is converted into powder by a variety of means and processing techniques depending upon the desired end product.

Guar was traditionally used for feeding animals in Rajasthan and green pods were used for vegetable purpose. With the development in processing technology in the country, guar seed is being used for extracting gum powder, which has many applications including food preparations, beverages, textiles, paper industry, petroleum industry, mining, explosives, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Following are different grades and their uses:
Food grade
Bakeries (Bread), Dairy (Ice cream, Sherbets, Cheese etc.), Dressing (Sauces, Ketchup’s), Beverages (Chocolate drinks), Pet Food (Thickener)
Fast Hydrated Gum
Oil drilling (as a well stimulant and fraction reducer), Mining (increased yield, filter aid) Explosives (Gelling agent), Coal Mining (fraction reducer, binding)
Industrial grade
Textile printing (Thickening agent for dyes) Paper (increase strength and decrease porosity) Tobacco (binding and Strengthening) Photography (Gelling and Hardening) Cosmetics & medicines (as binder and thickener) Slimming (Reducing weight & laxative)