Guar Gum

Guar - A Wonder Crop | What is Guar Gum? | Uses | Exports | U.S. Buyer Inputs


Guar gum, also called guaran, is a galactomannan. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, pale, off-white-colored, coarse to fine ground powder

Guar is grown mainly in India, Pakistan, Sudan and parts of USA. India grows over 850,000 tons, or 80% of the total guar produced all over the world. Mainly in Rajasthan 65% of the Guar Gum or derivatives produced in India are exported, mainly to USA and to European countries.

70% of India's Guar is grown in Rajasthan, and the balance mainly in Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab. Guar is grown in semi-arid climate and contains a protein and natural polymer. The protein along with the husk is used as animal feed and the natural polymer is used as a thickener to viscosify water.

This property of viscosifying water is used to modify products in various industries are:
  • Food Products (Low viscosity increase) (Low quality guar)
  • Mining Industry
  • Agricultural Industry
  • Industrial Applications (Very high viscosity increase)( High quality guar)

India's much neglected and little-known guar gum is now its biggest agricultural item of export, upstaging the much better known items of basmati and non-basmati rice. Major uses today are in Textile Printing Thickeners, Oil and Gas Well drilling & Fracturing, Water based Paints, Building and Construction, Cosmetics & Personal Care, Food ingredients, etc.


Guar Gum, also called guaran, is derived from endosperm of the guar plant (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus). Guar is a legume crop, which grows best in sandy soils and needs moderate, intermittent rainfall with lots of sunshine.

Guar gum is a natural high molecular weight polysaccharide galactomannan, with a mannose to galactose ratio of 2:1, combined through glycosidic linkages. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, pale, off-white-colored, coarse to fine ground powder, which is available in different viscosities and granulometries depending on the applications.

  • Easy solubility in both cold and hot water
  • Stable in solutions over a wide range of pH values from 2 - 10
  • Film forming property
  • Resistance to oils, greases and solvent
  • Better thickening agent
  • Water binding capacity
  • High viscosity
  • Functioning at low temperatures
  • Compatible with many other hydrocolloids used in food formulations
  • Versatility due to number of free hydroxy groups to make derivatives for specific applications.


The traditional market for Guar Gum is as an additive in the food industry. In the U.S., differing percentages are set for its allowable concentration in various food applications. In Europe, guar gum has EU food additive code E412.

Today, the usage and Exports of Guar Gum are in majority cases in Industrial Applications.

Food Industry Uses
Bakery Improves texture
Increases dough yield
Increases shelf life
Improves crumb structure
Processed Cheese Improves texture and flavour
Soups Thickener
Pastry Ices Absorbs free water
Prevents excessive stickiness
Noodles Improves texture and form
Improves moisture retention.
Meat Binder in sausages
Absorbs free water
Improves flow rate
Prevents separation and migration
Dressings and Sauces Thickener
Emulsion stabiliser
Improves flow properties
Beverages Controls viscosity
Improves body and mouth feel
Improves shelf life
Industrial Applications Uses
Textiles For Printing with Acid dyes on silk and Polyamide
Oil well drilling Fluid-loss controlling agent
Additives in fracturing fluids
Mining Concentration of ores
Flocculation and better recovery
Construction Mortar Retarder and mortar flowability
Explosives Water binding agent for aqueous slurry explosives
Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals Conditioner and viscosifier
Thickener in toothpastes and shampoos
Binder in tablets
To disintegrate compressed tablets
Mild laxative and soluble dietary fiber
Paper For improved sheet formation
Increased bursting strength
Increased fold strength
Denser surface for printing
To get better finish


SHEFEXIL has maintained a healthy growth in guar gum export over the years, especially boosting since 2011-12, fuelled by increasing industrial uses across the world.

The primary destination of Indian guar gum has been USA, followed by China and Germany, and also 11 other countries including South Africa, UAE, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Hong Kong and Japan.

The export performance of guar gum over the years is highlighted in green in the chart below, along with the projection for 2012-13 and 2013-14 highlighted in orange:


A reputed buyer from the United States of America shared certain relevant views on how the world perceives Indian guar gum, which are detailed below.

    The degree by which the viscosity increases for NATURAL GUAR strongly depends on three factors, which are:
  • Sources of guar seeds
  • Quality of guar seeds from each source
  • Processing of guar

In order to maximize return on investment, Guar manufacturers should focus on all the three above mentioned factors. For example, one can take a an average quality guar split and process it in a manner that will yield very high quality guar - which will be a highly efficient thickener.


Guar splits of any quality can also be chemically modified to increase its performance (or valued added). This derivatized Guar is normally used for Industrial Applications like:

  • Oil field Applications
  • Cosmetics & Personal Care
  • Paint Industry
  • Textile Industry
  • Construction

In recent times in oil field business, there has been a significant increase in demand for guar both natural and derivatized guar. This increase in demand has been due to primarily in increase in an area of activity called Hydraulic Fracturing (HF).

Just on 18 month period, there has been a 50% jump in hydraulic fracturing activities. Typical HF uses either guar ( natural or modified) and Poly Acryl Amide (PAM). Typically 60% HF jobs are done with PAM and 40% are done with guar.


As we have indicated demand for oil field applications for guar has gone up and supply from India has grown up substantially. However, Prices need to be kept reasonable or else the oil field companies may be compelled to find other sources to replace guar.


Indian manufacturers even today do not know how to Derivatize Guar which is a value added. Very few also really know how to manufacture high quality HVG ( US Patent : Deysarkar, Dadoo etal). These value additions must be learnt if India as a country must earn more for their raw materials.