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(myo͞o`səlĭj), thick, glutinous substance, related to the natural gums, comprised usually of protein, polysaccharides, and uranides. It swells but does not dissolve in water. Mucilage is secreted by the seed covers of various plants, including marsh mallows and flaxes and certain seaweeds; it is the chief constituent of agar. In the plant it sometimes serves to check the loss of water to aid germination, to facilitate seed dispersal, and to store food. It is used in medicine as an emollient and a demulcent. Mucilage is employed also as an adhesive, and the term is extended to include other slimy adhesives, especially solutions of gum, such as tragacanth mucilage.



a substance of plant origin that forms aqueous viscid solutions. Mucilage is found in seeds, roots, and bark, accumulating primarily in mucilage receptacles.

Chemically and physically similar to gums, mucilage contains branched (galactomannans) and linear (glucomannans) polysaccharides. In many forms of vegetation, including flax, plantain, some plants of the Cruciferae family, elm, and rye grain, it contains uronic acid and a variety of neutral carbohydrates. Mucilage is also found in the cell walls and intercellular substances of red and brown algae, for example, in agar, carra-geenin, and alginic acid.

Mucilage’s ability to swell in water enables seeds to absorb water and swell during germination. An accumulation of mucilage in plant tissues increases resistance to drought. Desert plants, such as cacti and spurges, characteristically have a high mucilage content.

Mucilage is used in the medical, pharmacological, food-processing, and metallurgical industries and in the production of paper, textiles, emulsions, and glues.


See references under .



A sticky material employed as an adhesive.
A gummy material derived from plants.


1. An adhesive prepared from a gum and water.
2. A liquid adhesive which has low bonding strength.


1. a sticky preparation, such as gum or glue, used as an adhesive
2. a complex glutinous carbohydrate secreted by certain plants
References in periodicals archive ?
Penagos donated one of their portable, integrated pulping units, which pulps and removes mucilage simultaneously.
2007) observed the accumulation of vacuolar mucilage and the motion of chloroplasts within the epidermis of A.
5 cm wide; summer rosette, with obovate to nearly circular leaves, up to 10 cm long and 7 cm wide, with glandular hairs on the upper side that secrete a digestive mucilage that makes the leaves sticky (de Rzedowski and Rzedowski, 2001).
lineolata), among others, may be associated to morphological and adaptive traits from each taxa, since these algae are better adapted to periphytic habit, besides being grouped and involved in mucilage sheaths that favor the better attachment to the substrata.
The addition of oil may cause the sea snot to coalesce into giant blobs called marine mucilage, which can grow more than a hundred miles (160 kilometers) long, according to Roberto Danovaro at Italy's Polytechnic University of Marche.
Marshmallow's soothing properties stem from its high polysaccharide-containing mucilage content.
In plants, mucilage promotes water storage and seed growth.
Psyllium, a form of dietary fiber, or roughage, is used mainly for its mucilage, a gooey gel from the psyllium seed coat.
Mucilage from the bark bears a resemblance to gum arabic, which is used as glue and in incense.
As local application honey was popular in many eye ointments, often together with a variety of other substances, such as dried faeces from infants, black eye paint, vegetable mucilage, extracts of carob and valerian, and turtle bile.
homeostasis in cells, also leading to a reduction in mucilage secretion