Where does Gum Arabic come from?
The Story of our Gum Acacia
In autumn, across the “gum belt” stretching from Senegal in the west through Mali and Chad to Sudan in the east, Acacia trees are tapped – incisions are made and small sections of bark are stripped away – to allow gum to exude and form jewel-like lumps.
A few weeks after tapping, once the lumps of gum have dried sufficiently to be handled, they are collected by hand. The lumps higher up in the branches are gently nudged into a can fixed to the top of a long pole and collected this way.
After collection, the lumps of gum are laid out in the sun to dry further. The reduction in moisture makes the gum easier to handle and improves storage stability.
The fully dried gum is then cleaned manually, picking out any contamination such as stones and small strips of bark.
Selection and sorting
After cleaning the gum is sorted into type: Acacia senegal or Acacia seyal, and also into different qualities. The lightest gum generally commands the best prices.
The raw gum is processed mechanically into kibbled gum (crushed into smaller particles) or a mechanical powder (by milling). Finally it can be spray-dried into a microbiologically stable, food-grade, powder.