Hydrocolloid: Propylene Glycol Alginate (PGA) - Cape Crystal Brands
Hydrocolloid - Propylene Glycol Alginate (PGA

Hydrocolloid: Propylene Glycol Alginate (PGA)


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Propylene Glycol Alginate (PGA): The Seaweed-Derived Stabilizer in Modern Gastronomy

Propylene Glycol Alginate (PGA), an ester of alginic acid derived from brown seaweed, has been recognized for its stabilizing, emulsifying, and thickening properties. But what's the scientific rationale behind this hydrocolloid's behavior, and how has it been integrated into contemporary culinary applications?

Historical Context

PGA's origins trace back to the extraction of alginates from brown seaweed. Its modification with propylene glycol led to the development of PGA, which presented enhanced solubility and stability properties1.

The Molecular Science of PGA

PGA is an esterified form of alginic acid, where some of the carboxyl groups are esterified with propylene glycol. This modification results in improved solubility in both acidic solutions and over a broader pH range2.

Extraction and Refinement

PGA is produced by modifying alginic acid, extracted from brown seaweed, with propylene glycol. The resultant PGA is then purified, dried, and milled to produce a fine powder suitable for various applications3.

A Multifaceted Ingredient

PGA's versatility is evident in its diverse applications:

  • Food Industry: Used as a stabilizer in acidic products, emulsifier in dressings, and thickener in various food products4.

  • Beverage Industry: Employed to stabilize and prevent sedimentation in drinks like beer5.

  • Pharmaceuticals: Incorporated as a thickening and suspending agent in drug formulations6.

PGA in Culinary Creations - Proportions

PGA's culinary proportions are influenced by its stabilizing and thickening capabilities:

  1. Salad Dressings:

    • Proportion: 0.1% to 0.5% of the total weight7.
    • Purpose: Acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer.
  2. Desserts (like Puddings or Mousses):

    • Proportion: 0.2% to 1% of the total weight8.
    • Purpose: Provides a smooth, creamy consistency.
  3. Beverages (like Fruit Juices):

    • Proportion: 0.05% to 0.3% of the total weight9.
    • Purpose: Prevents sedimentation and enhances mouthfeel.


Propylene Glycol Alginate, with its unique molecular properties and wide-ranging applications, continues to be a valuable ingredient in modern gastronomy. Its role across various industries, especially in the culinary world, underscores its adaptability and importance. As the nexus between culinary arts and food science deepens, PGA's prominence is poised to grow.

See Hydrocolloid Glossary

For further reading - Alginate - Sodium




  1. Draget, K.I., et al. "Alginates from Algae." Biopolymers Online, 2005.

  2. BeMiller, J.N. "Carbohydrate Chemistry for Food Scientists." AACC International Press, 2019.

  3. McHugh, D.J. "Production and Utilization of Products from Commercial Seaweeds." FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, 1987.

  4. Imeson, A. "Food Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents." Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

  5. Bamforth, C.W. "Beer: Health and Nutrition." Wiley-Blackwell, 2004.

  6. Aulton, M.E., & Taylor, K.M.G. "Aulton's Pharmaceutics: The Design and Manufacture of Medicines." Elsevier Health Sciences, 2017.

  7. Davidson, R.L. "Handbook of Water-Soluble Gums and Resins." McGraw-Hill, 1980.

  8. Guarda, A., et al. "Different hydrocolloids as bread improvers and antistaling agents." Food Hydrocolloids, 2004.

  9. Ashurst, P.R. "Chemistry and Technology of Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices." Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

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