SPM Chemistry Form 5 Notes – Chemicals for Consumers (Part 9)

by BerryBerryTeacher

in Berry Reference (Notes)

Food thickeners are substances which increases the viscosity (in laymen terms, “flowability”) of food without significantly altering other phyiscal or chemical properties. The thickeners are usually based on proteins (such as collagens, gelatins and egg whites) or polysaccharides (such as pectin, starches and vegetable gums). The food thickeners used are relatively specific to the type of food due to the different responses in the physico-chemical conditions of the food.

This post from Berry Berry Easy, Part 9 of the short series of notes on Chemicals for Consumers for SPM Form 5 Chemistry will be on food thickeners, their examples, functions, applications on food types and potential side effects.

[Tips: If you have been reading the previous posts in this series, you would notice the types of food additives mentioned here. It should be noted that some substances have properties to qualify as food additives for different categories. For example, a substance can be an antioxidant, flavour and maybe even a thickener at the same time.]

SPM Chemistry Form 5 Notes – Chemicals for Consumers (Part 9)

Grapeseed Oil Nutritional Information

Food Additives

E. Thickeners


  • thicken food
  • give the food dense, smooth and uniform texture


Thickeners Functions Example Side effect
Acacia gum Reduces the surface tension of liquid. Leads to increased fizzing. Mix two liquids that do not mix together. Forms an emulsion. Marshmallow, gumdrop, edible glitter, carbonated drink syrup & gummy candies -
Gelatin Mixture of peptides and proteins of collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals Fruit jam, jelly babies, shells of pharmaceutical capsules, margarine & yogurt -
Pectin Dietary fiber Fruit jam -
Starch Thicken food Soup, custard, pudding, noodles and  pasta -
Modified starch Increase their visco-stability Instant soups & cheese sauce granules -
Xanthan gum Helps to prevent oil separation. Increase in the viscosity of a liquid Sauce & salad dressing Allergies

This is the end of the subchapter on food additives. Berry Berry Easy wants to wish all Berry Readers “Good luck” for the upcoming SPM Chemistry examinations.

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