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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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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 .


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A sticky material employed as an adhesive.
A gummy material derived from plants.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. An adhesive prepared from a gum and water.
2. A liquid adhesive which has low bonding strength.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a sticky preparation, such as gum or glue, used as an adhesive
2. a complex glutinous carbohydrate secreted by certain plants
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
For eight cultivars, information about the mucilage was available from a preliminary screening conducted by PGRC in 1999.
One goal of the research, Alcantar says, is to find the optimal mucilage dosage for achieving the best water-purifying results.
Pulped natural coffees are obtained by pulping the mature coffee cherries, then allowing the mucilage sugars to be absorbed by the seeds while drying in the sun on patios.
Specifically, I analyzed: (1) the plant breeding system and pollination ecology of this carnivorous plant; (2) the spatial distribution of pollinators and prey in relation to microclimatic conditions; (3) the identity and capture rate of insects trapped on leaves during the flowering period, in relation to the retention capacity of the mucilage; and (4) whether flowering plants captured more or different prey than did nonflowering ones.
In the mucilage category, Loctite's Quicktite Super Glue is out in a carded small size that has the Good Housekeeping Seal.
Dietary fibers--such as gums, pectin and mucilage (normally found in oat products)--are water soluable, unlike neutral detergent fibers (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin--available in wheat products).
When cooked correctly, it releases a mucilage that's medicinal in its properties, creating a protective film on the stomach lining, as well as aiding dry coughs and healing and soothing any inflammation."
The seed husks absorb 25 times their weight in water and form a soothing mucilage which is included in bulking laxatives and slimming products.
First step before starting the SEM protocol was the addition of a 2% CTAB solution during 24 h to remove the excess of mucilage surrounding the cells (Tavera and Calderon, 2013).
By type, the global food hydrocolloids market is segmented as cellulose and derivatives, hemicellulose, pectin, exudate gums, mucilage gum, fructans, carrageenan, agar, xanthan gum, pullulan, gellan gum, chitin and chitosan, gelatin and others.
In addition, flaxseeds are very high in lignans, fiber compounds that act as powerful antioxidants, and mucilage, a type of fiber that may improve absorption of nutrients.
Crotteau pointed out that the main ingredient is mucilage, as well as amounts of Gallic Acid, Phenols, Starches, Sugars and vitamins A, B, B-Complex, C, K and P.