Xanthan gum was discovered by a United States Department of Agriculture chemist named Allene Rosalind Jeanes. This gum was approved for food consumption in 1968. Xanthan gum is a sugar-like substance that is made by fermenting carbohydrates with a bacterium. It is then derived from a solution using isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder.
Xanthomonas campestris bacterium is a type of plant disease, a plant pathogen if you will. If you’ve ever seen a plant leaf with little brown spots all over it, you’ve probably seen a form of this bacterium. Another form of this bacterium is known to cause black rot in the roots of plants.