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Sodium Alginate food thickener
The thickening property of alginate is useful in sauces and in syrups and toppings for ice cream. By thickening pie fillings with alginate, softening of the pastry by liquid from the filling is reduced. Addition of alginate can make icings non-sticky and allow the baked goods to be covered with plastic wrap. Water-in-oil emulsions such as mayonnaise and salad dressings are less likely to separate into their original oil and water phases if thickened with alginate. Sodium alginate is not useful when the emulsion is acidic, because insoluble alginic acid forms; for these applications propylene glycol alginate (PGA) is used since this is stable in mild acid conditions. Alginate improves the texture, body and sheen of yoghurt, but PGA is also used in the stabilization of milk proteins under acidic conditions, as found in some yoghurts. Some fruit drinks have fruit pulp added and it is preferable to keep this in suspension; addition of sodium alginate, or PGA in acidic conditions, can prevent sedimentation of the pulp. In chocolate milk, the cocoa can be kept in suspension by an alginate/phosphate mixture, although in this application it faces strong competition from carrageenan. Small amounts of alginate can thicken and stabilize whipped cream.