Chewing gum is based on what natural resin?
The sapodilla tree in Mexico and Central America produces a resin known as chicle, which for hundreds of years Mayans and Aztecs used to stave off hunger, quench thirst, and even freshen breath. The sap itself acts as the tree’s natural band-aid, and works to protect the plant in case of damage. Though earlier cultures in Scandinavia and Greece as well as Native Americans all chewed natural substances, the chewing gum known today gained popularity through American inventor Thomas Adams Sr. Originally, Adams intended to create an industrial material from the resin closer to rubber, but eventually decided to simply boil the chicle and sell it as gum. By the 1880s, Adams and his sons were manufacturing more than five tons of chewing gum a day. Eventually, manufacturers switched to synthetic ingredients, and by 1980 the importing of chicle from Latin America had ceased completely.
Source: Smithsonian | Date Updated: May 27, 2021
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