Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Random ingredient of the day .....brought to you in association with Haribo and Wikipedia!

Whilst eating a bag of Haribo Maom mix the other day, kindly donated to me by my wife, I had occassion to peruse the ingredients list and came across something I have often seen listed in such sweets that is called Carnauba Wax. Puzzled as to the true nature of this afore mentioned ingredient, I decided to look it up. This was the result:

"Carnauba, also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax of the leaves of the palm, Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará, and Rio Grande do Norte.[1] It is known as "queen of waxes"[2] and usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown flakes. It is obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm by collecting them, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax. Carnauba wax contains mainly esters of fatty acids (80-85%), fatty alcohols (10-16%), acids (3-6%) and hydrocarbons (1-3%). Specific for carnauba wax is the content of esterified fatty diols (about 20%), hydroxylated fatty acids (about 6%) and cinnamic acid (about 10%). Cinnamic acid, an antioxidant, may be hydroxylated or methoxylated.

Carnauba wax can produce a glossy finish and as such is used in automobile waxes, shoe polishes, dental floss, food products such as sweets, instrument polishes, and floor and furniture waxes and polishes, especially when mixed with beeswax and with turpentine. Use for paper coatings is the most common application in the United States. It is the main ingredient in surfboard wax, combined with coconut oil.

Because of its hypoallergenic and emollient properties as well as its shine, carnauba wax appears as an ingredient in many cosmetics formulas where it is used to thicken lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, foundation, deodorant, various skin care preparations, sun care preparations, etc.[citation needed] It is also used to make Cutler's resin.

It is the finish of choice for most briar tobacco or smoking pipes. It produces a high gloss finish when buffed on to wood. This finish dulls with time rather than flaking off (as is the case with most other finishes used.)

In foods, it is used as a formulation aid, lubricant, release agent, anticaking agent, and surface finishing agent in baked foods and mixes, chewing gum, confections, frostings, fresh fruits and juices, gravies, sauces, processed fruits and juices, soft sweets, Tic Tacs and Altoids.

Though too brittle to be used by itself, carnauba wax is often combined with other waxes (principally beeswax) to treat and waterproof many leather products where it provides a high-gloss finish and increases leather's hardness and durability.

It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as a tablet coating agent.

In 1890, Charles Tainter patented the use of carnauba wax on phonograph cylinders as a replacement for a mixture of paraffin and beeswax.

When used as a mold release, carnauba, unlike silicone or PTFE, is suitable for use with liquid epoxy, epoxy molding compounds (EMC) and some other plastic types. Carnauba wax is compatible with epoxies and generally enhances its properties along with those of most other engineering plastics.

An aerosol mold release is formed by suspending carnauba wax in a solvent. This aerosol version is used extensively in molds for semiconductor devices. Semiconductor manufacturers also use chunks of carnauba wax to break in new epoxy molds or to release the plunger when it sticks.

Carnauba is used in melt/castable explosives to produce an insensitive explosive formula such as Composition B, which is a blend of RDX and TNT."

Hmmm...yummy. Enjoy your Haribo folks!

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