The main difference between gum and mucilage is that gum is a thick plant secretion made when a plant is injured, whereas mucilage is a sticky and gel-like substance made inside the plant.
Gum and mucilage are two polymeric substances produced in plants. They are important as pharmaceutical excipients.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Gum
– Definition, Facts, Function
2. What is Mucilage
– definition, Facts, Function
3. Similarities Between Gum and Mucilage
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Gum and Mucilage
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Gum
Gum is a plant secretion in woody plants, occurring under the bark. It is a polysaccharide called sap. The molecular weight of the polysaccharide compound is high. It is often highly hydrophilic or hydrocolloidal. Many plants produce gums as a seed coating. It is an adaptation to delay germination. However, plants produce gums in an injury. Also, gums are water-soluble. Gummosis is the process of the formation of gums. The damaged cell wall is then secreted in gummosis. Additionally, the gum is tan, and a lot of galactose occurs in the gum.
Furthermore, okra gum is a secretion of Abelmoschus esculentus. It contains several sugars, including galactose, galacturonic acid, and rhamnose. Similarly, albizia gum is the product of Albizia zygia that contains several galactose units linked in a specific way. Both cosmetic and pharmaceutical compounds are produced using gums. For example, Abelmoschus esculentus gum has gastric floating properties.
What is Mucilage
Mucilage is a thick, gluey substance produced by all plants and some microorganisms. Protists use mucilage for their locomotion. They always move in the opposite direction of the mucilage secretion. However, mucilage is a polar glycoprotein and an exopolysaccharide. There are many functions of mucilage in plants, including seed germination, storage of water and food, and thickening membranes. Uniquely, mucilage is important in carnivorous plants in capturing insects.
Moreover, mucilage is edible. Also, it relieves irritation of mucus membranes and covers as a protective film. Additionally, it serves as a soluble and viscous dietary fiber, thickening fecal mass.
Similarities Between Gum and Mucilage
- Gum and mucilage are two substances produced by plants.
- They are important as pharmaceutical excipients.
- Also, they are plant-derived polymeric compounds.
Difference Between Gum and Mucilage
Gum refers to a viscous secretion of some trees and shrubs that hardens on drying but is soluble in water and from which adhesives and other products are made. At the same time, mucilage refers to a polysaccharide substance extracted as a viscous or gelatinous solution from plant roots, seeds, etc., and used in medicines and adhesives.
Gum is a thick plant secretion made when a plant is injured, while mucilage is a sticky and gel-like substance made inside the plant.
Type of Substance
Gum is a polysaccharide, while mucilage is a glycoprotein.
Gum is highly hydrophilic, while mucilage is polar.
Delaying seed germination is a function of gum, while seed germination, water and food storage, and thickening membranes are the functions of mucilage.
Gum is produced when the cell wall is destroyed, while mucilage is produced in mucilage cells under normal conditions.
Gum occurs outside the bark, while mucilage occurs in tissues like leaves, bark, and seeds.
Okra gum and albizia gum are gums, while agar and plant seed mucilage are examples of mucilage.
In brief, gum, and mucilage are two polymeric substances produced in plants. Gum is a thick secretion of plants. Importantly, it is only secreted when the plant’s cell wall is damaged. Also, it is secreted from the bark. In comparison, mucilage is a sticky and gel-like substance made inside the plant under normal conditions. It occurs in bark, seeds, and leaves. Therefore, the main difference between gum and mucilage is their significance.
- Choudhary PD, Pawar HA. Recently Investigated Natural Gums and Mucilages as Pharmaceutical Excipients: An Overview. J Pharm (Cairo). 2014;2014:204849. doi: 10.1155/2014/204849. Epub 2014 Apr 7. PMID: 26556189; PMCID: PMC4590793.