Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Chicle is the gum from Manilkara chicle, a species of sapodilla tree. It is a tropical evergreen tree, native to in Central America and South America. It is the traditional material used in chewing gum.
The tree is also grown for its fruit which is plum-sized and has a translucent brown flesh. The tapping of the gum is similar to the tapping of latex from the rubber tree. Zigzag gashes are made in the tree trunk and the dripping gum is collected in small bags. Locals who collect chicle are called chicleros . This is then boiled till it reaches the correct thickness. Widespread tapping has lead to the tree becoming scarce and other sources like the related Balatá (Manilkara bidentata) are being increasingly used. Many modern chewing gums use petroleum based plastic instead of chicle.
See also Antonio López de Santa Anna
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