Xanthan gum: A versatile biopolymer for biomedical and technological applications
Xanthan gum is an extracellular polymer produced mainly by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. Traditionally it plays an important role in industrial applications as thickener, emulsion stabilizer and it has been added to water-based drilling fluids due to its pseudoplastic behavior and thermal stability. The structural properties of xanthan in solution can be tuned by the temperature and ionic strength; under high ionic strength or low temperature, xanthan chains are arranged in helical conformation, whereas under low ionic strength or high temperature, xanthan chains are coiled. Xanthan high molecular weight favors the building up of physical and chemical networks, which have been used as carriers for drugs and proteins and as scaffolds for cells. In combination with other polymers xanthan has been applied as excipient in tablets or as supporting hydrogels for drug release applications, particularly due to its acid resistance. The large versatility of xanthan gum opens the possibility for the creation of new architectures and additional applications involving this fascinating polymer. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2015, 132, 42035.