Antimicrobial Activity of Natural Edible Gums
Edible gums are tears or flakes of dried sap (exudates) of many (mostly thorny) trees and shrubs either after natural or manmade injuries to wooden stem and branches. They are ionic, natural, complex polymers of glycopeptides containing several other compounds and mineral salts. Many of the gums are edible specifically those obtained from trees/ shrubs of Fabaceae family including Acacia, Sterculia, Astragalus, Balanites, Buchnania and Anogeissus species. Gums have been used since centuries for their nutritional, culinary and therapeutic properties in food, pharmacy and refining industries. In recent past gums have became very important starting material for green synthesis of nanomaterials including metallic (silver, copper, palladium etc.) nanoparticles and nanotubes due to their reductant and stabilizer activity. Their biogenic synthesis utility is mainly interesting due to their biodegradability, nontoxic, non-mutagenic nature, natural availability, higher resistance to microbial attacks and long shelf-life. Many of the gums are known to alleviate infections like diarrhoea, dysentery, sore-throat, kidney, wound and gum infections. However, only scattered reports are in literature evaluating their antimicrobial potential leading to underestimation and sometime over expectations from gums and gum-products in therapeutics. This short review is for understanding the available information on edible gums as herbal antimicrobial agents.
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