Definition of carrageenan in US English:



  • A substance extracted from red and purple seaweeds, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides. It is used as a thickening or emulsifying agent in food products.

    • ‘It also reduced the paw edema induced by carrageenan in rats.’
    • ‘Some alternatives which produce results similar to gelatin are agar-agar, carrageenan, tapioca, sago, guar gum, pectin, and rennet.’
    • ‘Also, ingredients such as carrageenan provide added stability.’
    • ‘Neutral-type applications such as these require specific types of carrageenan to attain stability.’
    • ‘The use of carrageenan as a stabilizing agent has become widespread and is very effective in keeping the cocoa ingredient bound to the milk protein.’
    • ‘A stabilizer such as carrageenan can help keep the calcium in suspension.’
    • ‘Similar vegetable gums, with the same possible adverse effects, are carrageenan, gum tragacanth, and carob or locust bean gum.’
    • ‘The organisation is similarly developing carrageenan and is sponsoring a large safety study in women attending a family planning clinic in South Africa.’
    • ‘In addition, stabilizers such as kappa carrageenan help prevent the cocoa particles from settling out in chocolate milk.’
    • ‘Most commercial ice cream is made with carrageenan, a seaweed extract.’
    • ‘Keep in mind, too, that most commercial soy milks, especially the fortified ones, contain added salt and sweeteners (cane juice, usually) and are thickened with carrageenan (extracted from seaweed).’


1960s: from carrageen + -an.