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Traditionally, the starch industry mainly sells its customers the functions of thickening and adhesion. Modern applications and processing developments are giving rise to an increasing need for further product adaptations and refinement, although one of the oldest applications, the starch adhesives, have for the most part maintained their position. The paper industry has seen the large-scale introduction of cationic starches as a wet-end additive. This development has been strongly supported by recycling and the re-use of waste paper. Starch as a component in food products is a daily experience for everyone. For modified starches, attention is nowadays focused on such properties as thickening, stability, shelf-life, texture and expansion. Warp sizing and fabric printing are the principal applications for starch derivatives in the textile industry, where it is a temporary easily removable processing aid.
In addition to these four main areas of application, there are a number of other fields where starch products have a special role. Good examples are fluid loss control during deep-well drilling for oil and gas, and flocculation in the purification process for drinking-water.