Esterifications of the tree-based gum, gum karaya (GK), using dodecenylsuccinic anhydride (DDSA) were carried out in aqueous solutions. GK was deacetylated using alkali treatment to obtain deacetylated gum karaya (DGK). The DGK and its DDSA derivative were characterized using gel permeation chromatography/multiangle laser light scattering (GPC/MALLS), attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H NMR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis, and rheological studies. The degree of substitution was found to be 10.25% for DGK using (1)H NMR spectroscopy. The critical aggregation concentration of DDSA-DGK was determined using dye solubilization and surface tension methods. The antibacterial activity of the DDSA-DGK derivative was then investigated against Gram-negative Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus. The DDSA-DGK derivative has the potential for use as a stabilizing agent in food and nonfood applications. It can also be developed as an antibacterial agent.