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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.


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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 ?
Tannins, phenolic compounds and gums and mucilages are extracted in all the solvent systems, while alkaloids, flavonoids and phytosterols were extracted in all the solvent extracts, except aqueous extracts.
Natural gums and mucilage have been widely used in drug formulations as thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilizers, gelling agents, granuleting agents, suspending agents, binders, film formers, disintergrants and as sustained release matrixes [11].
Pods of okra comprise of mucilage, which holds a mixture of pectin and carbohydrates and is used as thickener in food industries (Woolfe et al.
Rheological properties of the mucilage gum ( Opuntia ficus indica).
Flax ingredient solutions with strong water-binding capabilities and gum mucilage can be used to replace gum systems in food applications such as gluten-free baked goods, where it can improve both texture and shelf life in gluten-free tortillas, sheeted doughs, batters, breadings, sweet baked goods and fresh breads.
But, the new study found that Mediterranean mucilages harbor bacteria and viruses, including potentially deadly E.
All taxa studied have been catalogued according to habit type (growth type) and habitat (altitude at which taxa are found) to enable correlating these parameters with information resulting from mucilage and lectin assays.
This reversal appears to be driven primarily by how populous ryegrass roots and hairs are, and by accompanying mucilages that bind soil aggregates.
This is the second study of lectin and mucilage detection in Labiatae nutlets from Colombia.
These bacterium-binding proteins recognize specific carbohydrate receptors which are suggested to be localized in the mucilages exuded from the root hairs and root cap (Haahtela et al.
Plants' winter hardiness is influenced by the presence of freeze inhibitors, known as arabinoxylan mucilages, that interfere with the forrnation of ice crystals.
The fruit coats of many species release mucilage upon contact with water (Hedge, 1970; Ryding, 2001).