Fruit gum

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Fruit tree gums are carbohydrate-containing products of hardened sap collected from damaged or cut areas of the trees. Cherry gum has been identified as a binder in paint medium. A similar substance is also obtained from other Prunus specie trees, such as apricot, plum, peach, nectarine and almond. The samples are collected as clear to light brown beads. A viscous, working solution, or mucilage, is prepared by pouring hot water over the beads, soaking overnight, then straining the solution through a cloth to remove the insoluble portion as well as any tree or insect pieces. The gum may be emulsified with fatty oils and balsams. Fruit gums were used as binders in Central Asian murals. Fruit gums have been used for paints binders, glazes, varnishes and adhesives.

Synonyms and Related Terms

goma de frutal (Esp.); gomma di frutti (It)

Examples include: cherry gum; Mahaleb-cherry gum; apricot gum; plum gum; almond gum; peach gum; pear gum; nectarine gum; purple plum gum; damson gum; egg plum gum; peachwood gum; prune gum

Physical and Chemical Properties

Slightly soluble in water; swells to form a gel.

Resources and Citations

  • J. Twilley, The Analysis of Exudate Plant Gums in Their Artistic Application, Archaeological Chemistry, 357, 1984
  • John S. Mills, Raymond White, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, Butterworth Heineman, London, 2nd ed., 1994

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