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agar a·gar (ā'gär', ä'gär') or a·gar-a·gar (ā'gär-ā'gär', ä'gär-ä'-)
A gelatinous material derived from marine algae, used as a base for bacterial culture media and as a stabilizer and thickener in food.
A culture medium containing this material.
in the Old Testament (Gen. 16:1-16; 21:8-21), Abraham's concubine and the mother of his son Ishmael. Purchased in Egypt, she served as a maid to Abraham's childless wife, Sarah, who gave her to Abraham to conceive an heir. When Hagar became pregnant, her meek manner changed to arrogance; with Abraham's reluctant permission, Sarah treated her so harshly that she fled into the wilderness. There, by a spring of water, she was found by an angel of the Lord, who told her to return home and promised her that she would have many descendants through a son, Ishmael; he would grow up to be a "wild ass of a man," in constant struggle with all other men. Hagar returned home to bear her child
gelatin-like product made primarily from the algae Gelidium and Gracilaria (red seaweeds). Best known as a solidifying component of bacteriological culture media, it is used also in canning meat, fish, and poultry; in cosmetics, medicines, and dentistry; as a clarifying agent in brewing and wine making; as a thickening agent in ice cream, pastries, desserts, and salad dressings; and as a wire-drawing lubricant. Agar is isolated from the algae as an amorphous and translucent product sold as powder, flakes, or bricks. It is produced chiefly in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Russia. Although agar is insoluble in cold water, it absorbs as much as 20 times its own weight. It dissolves readily in boiling water; a dilute solution is still liquid at 42 C (108 F) but solidifies at 37 C into a firm gel. In the natural state, agar occurs as a complex cell-wall constituent containing a complex carbohydrate (polysaccharide) with sulfate and calcium.