A gummy, water-soluble substance exuded by several species of tree of the genus Acacia (in particular A. senegal) used in the manufacture of many different products, from inks to candy, from ceramics to pharmaceuticals. In ink manufacture, it is used as a vehicle in certain types of printing inks (see Water-Soluble Gum Vehicle). Gum arabic is also called gum acacia.
Gum arabic is also applied to the surface of offset printing plates to prevent ink accumulation in non-printing areas. Gum arabic is also a component of offset press fountain solutions, used to desensitize the non-image areas of the plate and enable them to retain their ink-repellency. (See Fountain Solution.)