Gum arabic
Gum arabic, also known as acacia gum, chaar gund, char goond, or meska, is a natural gum
Natural gum
Natural gums are polysaccharides of natural origin, capable of causing a large viscosity increase in solution, even at small concentrations. In the food industry they are used as thickening agents, gelling agents, emulsifying agents, and stabilizers...

 made of hardened sap
Sap may refer to:* Plant sap, the fluid transported in xylem cells or phloem sieve tube elements of a plant* Sap , a village in the Dunajská Streda District of Slovakia...

 taken from two species of the acacia
Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described in Africa by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1773. Many non-Australian species tend to be thorny, whereas the majority of Australian acacias are not...

 tree; Acacia senegal
Acacia senegal
is a small deciduous Acacia tree known by the common names Rfaudraksha, Gum Acacia, Gum Arabic Tree, or Gum Senegal Tree. It is native to semi-desert regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Oman, Pakistan, and northwestern India. It grows to a height of 5-12m, with a trunk up to 30 cm in...

and Acacia seyal
Acacia seyal
Acacia seyal, the Red acacia, known also as the shittah tree , is a thorny, 6–10 m high tree with a pale greenish or reddish bark. At the base of the 3–10 cm feathery leaves there are two straight, light grey thorns, growing to 7–20 cm long...

. The gum is harvested commercially from wild trees throughout the Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

 from Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 and Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 to Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, although it has been historically cultivated in Arabia and West Asia. Gum arabic, a complex mixture
In chemistry, a mixture is a material system made up by two or more different substances which are mixed together but are not combined chemically...

 of polysaccharide
Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules, of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds. They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure,...

s and glycoprotein
Glycoproteins are proteins that contain oligosaccharide chains covalently attached to polypeptide side-chains. The carbohydrate is attached to the protein in a cotranslational or posttranslational modification. This process is known as glycosylation. In proteins that have segments extending...

s, is used primarily in the food industry
Food industry
The food production is a complex, global collective of diverse businesses that together supply much of the food energy consumed by the world population...

 as a stabilizer
Stabilizer (chemistry)
In chemistry a stabilizer is a chemical which tends to inhibit the reaction between two or more other chemicals. It can be thought of as the antonym to a catalyst...