Xanthan, popularly known as xanthan gum, a polysaccharide synthesized and secreted by a bacterium, Xanthomonas campestris, is commonly used as a rheology modifier and food additive. It performs the function of a thickening agent in food such as, salad dressings, and a stabilizing agent in cosmetics and personal care products It s also used in oil and drilling operations for lubricating, fracking and viscosity modifying applications. Xanthan gum consists of repeating units of five carbon ring structures (Pentasaccharides), containing glucuronic acid, mannose, and glucose (in molar ratio 2:2:1). Xanthan gum is manufactured by fermentation of sugars such as lactose, sucrose or glucose. After fermentation, the polysaccharide formed is extracted through precipitation from a nutrition/growth medium by adding isopropyl alcohol, drying and then grounding the extract into fine powder. Xanthan gum is formed by adding the powdered polysaccharide into a liquid medium.
The rise in oil and gas drilling activities from shale gas reserves is expected to drive the xanthan gum market within the forecast period between 2013 and 2019. Rise in discovery of shale gas plays across the world and development of improved, commercially viable shale gas extraction technology is supporting the growth of oil and gas market. This, in turn, is enhancing the demand for the chemicals used in these activities. Polyacrylamide, guar gum and xanthan gum are few of the most commonly used polymers for petroleum extraction. Limited supply of guar gum creates a gap in the market to be filled by Xanthan gum. Additionally, lower prices of xanthan when compared to guar are another prospective factor for the growth in demand for xanthan.
Xanthan gum market can be classified, based on its applications, into four end-user segments as oil and gas drilling, food and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products and others including pharmaceuticals, paper, coatings, etc. Food and beverages is estimated to be the largest market segment currently. Environment friendly nature of xanthan in terms of production process, biobased feedstock and zero toxicity of end products is a driving factor for its adoption over a wide range of petroleum based synthetic polymers with similar functionality. However, a slightly longer production process in terms of time taken is a minor setback. In addition, the advanced technological requirement for the complex manufacturing process is a reason for low adoption rate of xanthan as a product by market participants. Oil and gas drilling activities segment is projected to be the fastest growing segment over the forecast period from 2013 to 2019. Food and beverage market and cosmetics and personal care markets are growing rapidly, especially in high growth countries of Asia Pacific and Rest of the World.
Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest market owing to the fast growing industrial applications of xanthan. The market is witnessing major growth in China, Japan and India attributed to rapid technological advancements and infrastructure development in these countries. Rest of the world (RoW) is expected to be the fastest growing region. In Rest of the World region, countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, South Africa and Nigeria among others are expected to show higher than GDP market growth. This trend is expected to continue over the forecast period between 2013 and 2019. The mature markets of Europe and North America are expected to grow slow as compared to Asia Pacific and RoW. However, with present changes in the economic activities in the regions the market is showing positive growth and is expected to climb higher over the forecast period between 2013 and 2019 lead by rising shale gas drilling activities.
The market is dominated by few global organized players with China producing the largest volume followed by the U.S., Japan, Austria and France. Some of the key players in the xanthan market include ADM, Cargill, CP Kelco and Danisco among others.
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