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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 ?
The mucilaginous substances in the corms absorb and store water, which is especially important in winter when water is often limited by the cold conditions (Stevens & Dill 1942) as well as during droughts.
This issue also features "The Miraculous and Mucilaginous Paste Pot: Extra-Illustration and Plagiary in the Burroughs Legacy" by Davis Schneiderman.
Psyllium is a soluble fiber that produces a mucilaginous gel that helps to increase fecal bulk.
Mycelia (10 ml) was inoculated into 200 ml of modified malt extract broth in 600-ml vessels, and then cultured at 25-28 [degrees]C for 60 days by shaking at 130 rpm to obtain a mucilaginous medium containing the mycelia.
Aloe vera is a widely distributed Liliaceae plant in tropical regions and cosmetic and medicinal products are made from the mucilaginous tissue in the centre of the A.
These organisms are then replaced by heterotrophs that form a mucilaginous sheet over the original layer of bacteria-encrusted sand.
A mucilaginous extract of the bark is useful in clarifying sugar.
Cosmetic and some medicinal products are made from the mucilaginous tissue in the centre of the aloe vera leaf and called aloe vera gel.
The fresh juice of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), due to its high mucilaginous content, has been traditionally used for the treatment of gastritis.
In fact, the mucilaginous aspects of the seeds in a liquid could make for a very healthy alternative or substitute for some oil or eggs in various cooking (cake) recipes or salad dressings.
Mucilaginous herbs are soothing and often have an anti-tussive effect, for example Althea officinalis, Verbascum thapsus , Plantago lanceolata, Trigonella foenum-graecum, which are also antiinflammatory.