Saturday, May 24, 2008

What is Gelatin?

What is Gelatin?
Edible gelatine is a natural foodstuff. The raw materials used in its manufacture are skin (pigskin and hide split) and bone taken from slaughtered animals that have been approved for human consumption. The collagen contained in these raw materials is the actual starting material used for the manufacture of gelatine.

Native collagen is a scleroprotein based on a polypeptide chain comprising approximately 1,050 amino acids. Three of these chains form a triple helix.
Superimposition of many of these triple helices produces fibrils of collagen that are stabilized by cross-linking, hence forming a 3-dimensional network structure. This particular structure renders collagen insoluble; it is then brought into soluble form by partial hydrolysis as gelatine or gelatine hydrolysate.
The amino acid content of collagen and hence of gelatine is about one third glycine and a further 22% proline and hydroxyproline; the remaining 45% comprise 17 amino acids. Gelatine has a particularly high content of acidic and basic amino acids. Of the acidic amino acids (glutamic acid and aspartic acid), about 1/3 is present in the amido form as glutamine and aspargine. Cystein is completely absent; of the sulphur-containing amino acids, methionine is the only one present, in low proportion.

Commercially available edible gelatines have the following composition:

• 84 - 90% protein
• 8 - 12% water
• 2 - 4% mineral salts

They contain no fat or carbohydrates, no purine or cholesterol and are in addition free of all preservatives. All edible gelatines comply fully with all bacteriological standards.

Gelatin in our food
Gelatine is a modern foodstuff that is used in nume-rous industrial applications. Wherever gellating agents, stabilizers, binding agents, emulsifiers, filmformers, foaming agents and creaming agents are required, this practically invisible, neutraltasting product is used.
In addition, gelatine can be used for protein enrichment, the reduction of fat and carbohydrates, as a carrier and for the reduction of salts. These various applications, however, require different types of gelatine; the right selection requires expert advice. The GELITA Applications Service provides such advice through highly qualified and experienced food technologists. Thus, our product range includes gelatine for every application.

The development of semi-fat, low-fat and light products would often not be possible without gelatine. Whether semi-fat butter or margarine, low-fat pastries, reduced-fat cheese preparations, soft cheeses or sugarfree and gumbased sweets, both gelatine and gelatine hydrolysate are commonly used. The reasons for this are that gelatine binds large quantities of water to form a gel and that it provides such products with properties that make them pleasurable to eat, an aspect that is particularly important for new products.

Gelatin in Paper (MONEY?!?!?!?!)
In the paper industry, our technical gelatine is used as an impregnation agent and adhesive. It is even used in to protect banknotes from the effects of light and hence make them more durable. In particular, technical gelatine is used in the lamination of large surface areas, e.g. board games, files and displays. And perforated, folded cartons make for attractive packaging.

Other advantages: our gelatines are suitable for universal application, can be processed highly flexibly after drying, are biologically degradable, highly recyclable and neither swell nor
fold during processing. The material to be impregnated takes up less water due to the gelatine, facilitating time planning – an important criterion for large-surface impregnation.

Gelatin in Matchsticks
What is actually inside a matchstick head?

The answer: gelatine always! Each matchstick head consists of a complex chemical mixture containing technical gelatine. The role of the gelatine is, when the mixture is elutriated, to bind the various chemicals together. In addition to its binding power gelatine has a further advantage: when the reaction mixture is foamed, pores form within the matchstick head, thus making ignition possible.

Geltin used in Restoration
Masterful architecture has fascinated people for centuries.
However, no building can be expected to last forever – from time to time it has to be carefully repaired and refurbished. When restoring such historical buildings, experts often make use of the natural elastic binding properties of GELITA special gelatines, which are used e.g. to treat the surfaces of ornate stucco. This technique of fine priming comprises a number of highly complex steps but is effective for restoring stucco marble. Between the various grinding stages warm gelatine is applied using a natural hair brush and the surface then further processed.

Thanks to our special gelatines, monuments such as the Opera House in Dresden, and the Alexander III Bridge, the largest in Paris, are able to be seen in their original grandeur.

In the field of book restoration gelatine can be used in a number of ways. Since the middle of the 19th century paper has been manufactured from wood. However, the acid wood glue used at the time tends to become brittle in modern archives and libraries. Today, gelatine is used in book restoration as a "natural glue" for repairing such brittle patches or for reglueing pages. Gelatine can also be used for fixing the color and typescript of historical texts. The famous Dresden Music Scores that were damaged in the floods of the year 2000 were restored with the help of gelatine.

Gelatin in Washing and Cleansin agents
Collagen hydrolysates and collagen surfactants have been used for quite some time as components of washing and cleansing agents. As additives in washing up liquids, their dermatological advantages are used to protect the skin from the more aggressive surfactants commonly used. As fibre-protecting proteins, they are particularly useful as components in special cleaners for woollen, silk and other sensitive textiles where their effect can be literally felt.

Collagen hydrolysates and collagen surfactants have been used for quite some time as
components of washing and cleansing agents. As additives in washing up liquids, their dermatological advantages are used to protect the skin from the more aggressive surfactants commonly used. As fibre-protecting proteins, they are particularly useful as components in special cleaners for woollen, silk and other sensitive textiles where their effect can be literally felt.

Collagen surfactants combine the properties of mild washing raw materials with those of collagen hydrolysate as found. Special products such as our development GELITA BIOWASH® have numerous advantages:

Surface activating, good washing quality, complex forming, dermatologically safe and biologically degradable.

In their function as cobuilders, greying inhibitors and enzyme stabilizers they fulfil all the requirements of a modern detergent additive.

Gelatin in Pet Food
Gelatine and special collagen hydrolysates (GELITA FLEX®) are used as binding agents e.g. in the manufacture of bars and pellets (snacks/reward articles). Apart from the technological improvements incorporated, the high protein content of the products show special positive effects in degenerative disease of the animal skeletal system as well as in improved pelt growth.

Gelatin as nutrition sourc for starter cultures, vitamins and
Specially composed GELITA gelatine hydrolysates (e.g. GELITA BIOTEC®) are especially suitable as nutrient media – complex sources of nitrogen – due to their constant composition. This has been proven by numerous studies carried out in international institutes (including, among others, an article in the Journal of Biotechnology 30/93 entitled: "Use of collagen hydrolysate as a complex nitrogen source for the synthesis of penicillin by Penicillium chrysogenum"). These peptones have also been used in various industrial studies, e.g. in the manufacture of starter cultures, vitamins and antibiotics. These results have been published or presented at symposia.

Gelatin in stationary (Carbon-free copy paper), adhesives, etc
The special characteristics of gelatine as a protective colloid and the fact that its electrical charge is dependent on pH make it attractive as a wall material in microencapsulation. Gelatine and its derivatives can be used in the encapsulation of:

• Inks for carbon-free copy paper
• Chemicals for multi-component adhesives
• Vitamins for special applications

A further example for the application of special gelatines is the encapsulation of fragrances. A good example is the "scratch & sniff" perfume
advertising in the print media: microencapsulated fragrance oils are processed into printing varnish; when the surface is rubbed, the fragrance is released – all due to gelatine!
*gives paper its fragrance

Gelatine coatings (Pots and pans??)
How can gelatine help in the manufacture of silver cutlery, pots and copper pans?

GELITA gelatines are frequently used in galvanizing techniques. Added to galvanizing and electro-plating baths, they develop their protective colloid effect, hence enhancing the gloss and uniformity of the metallic coatings produced. They have proven to be particularly effective when used with copper alloys.

Apart from classical modified gelatines, methacrylated gelatine has been developed and internationally patented by
GELITA. It is characterized by its ability to polymerize. It can thus be used for other applications in addition to the classical ones such as micro-encapsulation, e.g. in the manufacture of packaging materials. In this application, UV hardening is used to promote crosslinking. The excellent film-forming properties of methacrylated GELITA gelatine make it eminently suitable for coating techniques e.g. in the manufacture of packaging material of minimal permeability for oxygen, aromas and water vapour. The application- and processrelevant properties of such coatings and laminates, as determined by GELITA in cooperation with scientific institutes under practice conditions, show that methacrylated gelatine is particularly suited to the manufacture of flexible packaging for food, pharmaceuticals and other sensitive products.

Gelatin in Fertilisers
Due to its adhesive effect and reduction of surface tension the technical gelatine hydrolysate (GELITA TEC) manufactured by the GELITA Group is used extensively as leaf fertilizer. Due to the slow degra-dation of amino acids, the precisely adjusted nitrogen concentration is made available over a longer period of time; this favors the metabolism of the plants treated. Specially selected gelatines and gelatine hydrolysates are also used a biologically degradable binding agents in the manufacture of fertilizer pellets.

Gelatin used for Cloth Protection
A perfect outfit - that's what makes fashion such fun! Our gelatine products help here by protecting the materials during manufacture. Acting as a sizing agent, the gelatine prevents the fibers from breaking during the high-speed dyeing and weaving process. The sizing agent is washed out once the process is complete. Apart from its binding and adhesive properties, the gelatine sizing agent, as a protein, also has the advantage of being biologically degradable.

Gelatin in Cosmetics
Natural collagen proteins from are important components of modern skin- and hair care products

Collagen, collagen hydrolysate and, recently of increased use, plant protein hydrolysates, possess properties that are essential for the care and protection of skin and hair.
These natural biological cosmetic ingredients are isolated and purified using mild extraction or gentle enzymatic degradation (using a method specially developed by GELITA). They are dermatologically compatible and free of all contaminants.

Protein and skin care
High-molecular, native collagen is an important moisture retainer used in creams and lotions and is suitable for all types of skin. It has been proven that collagens increase hydration, improve skin feeling and decrease the extent and depth of wrinkles.

Protein hydrolysates or wheat protein hydrolysate (GELITA PLANTASOL® ), due to their film-forming properties, provide additional positive effects by contributing to skin smoothness and softness. They also have a remarkably high capacity for radical capture. The protective function of collagene hydrolysate is particularly important in shower- and bath products. Apart from substantially reducing the skin and mucous membrane irritation brought out by conventional anionic surfactants, the skin becomes smoother and drying out is prevented.

Protein in hair care
Protein hydrolysates isolated from collagen or plant raw materials are valuable components of hair care products due to their affinity to keratin. Their film-forming properties improve the gloss, and handling of hair, especially if previously treated with chemical preparations. In permanent waving and bleaching, proteins have a substantial protecting effect on the hair structure. Addition of protein hydrolysates to hair coloring sprays and toners enables hair to absorb the dyes more uniformly. Natural dyes in particular show increased absorption and more intense coloring. In leave-on products, the natural conditioning effect of protein hydrolysates is noticeable.

Gelatine for all Types of Capsules
In pharmaceutical technology, the properties of gelatine such as film formation, thermoreversibility and adhesion are particularly important. The most important application areas for pharmaceutical gelatine are the manufacture of capsules and the embedding of vitamins.

Gelatine capsules are an elegant and widespread pharmaceutical dosage form; they enable drugs to be easily and safely administered whether in liquid, paste or solid form. At the same time, pharmaceuticals in capsule form have a high degree of bioavailability. Pharmaceutical capsules enable active ingredients to be formulated with long shelf lives, protected from light and oxygen. Depending on the nature of the substance to be encapsulated, either hard- or soft capsules can be used. Soft capsules are the more suitable for liquid or paste fillings based on oil whilst hard capsules are used in general for powdered substances.

Hard capsules are made of pure gelatine and have a water content of about 10-15 %. They are generally produced with added dye. They are produced using an immersion process and subsequently supplied to the pharmaceutical industry as closed empty capsules. In a separate process, they are then opened, filled with substance (e.g. powder or granulate) and closed off.

Soft capsules on the other hand are formed, filled and closed off in the one process. The designation soft capsule implies that the outer wall contains, apart from gelatine, a plasticiser, the degree of softness and elasticity of which depends on the quantity and type of plasticiser used, the residual moisture and the thickness of the capsule wall. Soft capsules tend to have thicker walls than hard capsules. Glycerine and sorbitol, or a mixture of both, are normally used as plasticisers.

Soft capsules are generally produced using the rotary die method, a process invented by Robert Pauli Scherer towards the end of the 1920s: in this process, two dyed and highly elastic bands of gelatine are passed through rollers. Whilst the capsules are being formed, they are filled with the required active ingredients. Gelatine-coated tablets (caplets) represent a new technical development in this area: using an immersion process, tablets are covered with a gelatine film and subsequently dried. This particular technology enables the economical advantages of tablet manufacture to be combined with the advantages of gelatine capsules for patients. The GELITA Group is the leading company world-wide in the supply of gelatine for all types of capsules.
Gelatine also plays an important part in the preparation of oil-based vitamin (A+E) preparations of long shelf life and easy applicability, both for human and animal consumption. Finely distributed vitamin A- or E oil drops in aqueous gelatine solution can be converted, by means of appropriate solidification and drying procedures, into a free-flowing powder; this can then be dissolved in aqueous solution but remains highly dispersed. The coating of vitamins with such special gelatines enables them to be protected from light and oxygen during long-term storage. In addition, the coatings can be prepared in such a way that they dissolve in both warm and cold solutions, as e.g. in the case of effervescent vitamin tablets.
Gelatine sponges play an important role in dental and surgical applications. These are prepared by foaming a gelatine solution and subsequently drying and hardening. Such blood-staunching gelatine sponges are completely resorbed in the course of wound healing. GELITA is one of the leading manufacturers of such gelatine sponges and supplies numerous domestic and foreign companies who then sterilize, pack and market the finished product.
In emergency medicine, blood replacement solutions based on gelatine are frequently used in cases where substantial blood losses have been incurred. Special gelatine quality is used for such plasma expanders; the pharmaceutical companies involved then subject it to heat or enzyme treatment and possibly modify it chemically before sterile-packaging it.
Gelatine is also used for a number of other medical and technological applications: in the manufacture of skin-compatible zinc-treated bandages, as a granulate-, tabletting- or sugar-coated tablet excipient or as a thickener for a number of drug dosage forms.

Gelatine in photography
A unique combination of specific properties makes gelatine a key component of photographic films and papers

Gelatine is utilized as a binder in light-sensitive products. It's gel-setting and filmforming properties are ideal for making clear, uniform and durable coatings which can be more than 15 layers thick in a single application.
Gelatine is indispensable in photographic coatings including silver halide emulsion layers, top coat or surface layers, interlayers and back coats. The chemical/colloidal properties enable precise precipitation and chemical ripening of photographic silver halide emulsions. Gelatine also stabilizes coupler and dye emulsions which are utilized especially in color photographic products. Gelatine's properties are required for high-speed photographic films, especially to reach the high sensitivities required for color films and medical x-ray products.

Photographic gelatine products are custom designed to meet the exacting needs of each customer. Products from the GELITA Group are well received for use in applications including graphic arts, amateur and professional photography, medical/diagnostic films and also in specialized applications including products for industrial non-destructive testing (NDT), holography, 3-dimensional imaging and emerging digital imaging products.

Gelatin in Confectionary (Candy / Tofee / Sweets)

Gelatine is a modern foodstuff that is used in numerous industrial applications.

Wherever gellating agents, stabilizers, binding agents, emulsifiers, filmformers, foaming agents and creaming agents are required, this practically invisible, neutraltasting product is used.

In the confectionery industry, gelatine and gelatine hydrolysate are used due to their following properties:

• Gel formation
• Foam formation
• Foam stabilization
• Texturing
• Emulsification
• Binding agent

All modern requirements e.g. for crystalclear gels in fruit- and wine gums and dessert jelly and excellent foam formation and stabilization in the production of marshmallows can be fulfilled if the right type of gelatine is selected for the production processes involved.

In caramel and liquorice sweets, gelatine provides excellent texturing and mouthfeeling. In the case of pastilles, an elastic structure and excellent melting properties can be provided by gelatine whereas in the case of lozenges and compressed substances, its binding properties guarantee perfect stability of form.

By substituting carbohydrates, sugarfree gums can be produced for diabetics.

Gelatin in Bakery Products
In the bakery industry, powder gelatine, leaf gelatine and
instant gelatine are primarily used for the binding or gellating of fillings as well as for the stabilization of creams.
The GELITA Group has a complete range of gelatine products for such applications.

Whipped fillings are rendered stable by the

addition of gelatine whilst retaining excellent "mouthfeeling".

Gelatine can also be used for the attractive enrobing/glazing of e.g. doughnuts.

Gelatin in Meat and Sausage Products
Gelatine can be used to produce crystal-clear, sliceable aspic meat and sausage products. Special types of gelatine, (e.g. GELITA®) are available for producing edible dips and coatings. These provide the necessary adhesion. Both gelatine and gelatine hydrolysates, available in the highest quality, can be used to optimize technological and sensory quality parameters, e.g.:

Reduction of jelly and fat residues in canned sausage

Improvement of spreading quality and softness in emulsified sandwich spreads

Whipping agent for low-calorie sandwich spreads

Improved homogeneity of binding in cooked sausage

Protein enrichment in cured meats

Rapid reduction of aw-values and shorter maturation times in raw sausage preparations

Stabilization of emulsions, dispersions and suspensions
In addition, color, taste and aroma are improved. Addition of gelatine hydrolysate can lead to a reduction in the use of salt without inhibiting taste.

This application, developed and patented internationally by GELITA Group, is gaining in importance in many other countries.

Gelatin in Dairy Products and Desserts
Gelatine enhances the texture of dairy products in an optimal way. Many product properties can be controlled by using different quantities and types of gelatine, e.g.:

Gelatine acts as a protective colloid in yogurts, thus preventing syneresis; at the same time, the consistency can be adjusted from creamy to almost solid.

Soft cheese can be adjusted in consistency from creamy to sliceable.

Cream and toppings can be stabilized to retain their shapes.

Sour cream retains its spreading and good melting qualities.

Its ability to bind water, form emulsions and provide stability enables it to be used in the production of low-fat dairy products.

The melting behavior of ice cream is substantially enhanced due to the improved emulsion and finer crystal structure made possible by the addition of gelatine. In this particular application, gelatine is frequently combined with other hydrocolloids.
Gelatine is used in many dessert dishes. Crystalclear, firm to soft gels are required for dessert and fruit jellies; these can be fulfilled by selecting the most suitable gelatine type.
In the production of whipped mousse and cream desserts, excellent foam formation and stability of the gelatine used are important selection criteria.

Different types of instant gelatine with different gelling properties can be used in the production of ready-to-eat desserts, both in mass production and in individual households. Whether for basic recipes for chocolate mousse, tiramisu or semolina pudding, GELITA® instant gelatines from the GELITA Group provide all of these products with a unique texture.

Gelatin in Beverages
Gelatine to remove substances causing turbidity or tanning

The clarification of wine and juices is carried out for two main reasons:
1) Substances causing turbidity or tanning that would otherwise have a negative effect on optics and taste are removed.
2) Such preclarification can enhance the efficiency of many of the centrifuges installed in modern production facilities.
Gelatines with a low bloom value as well as protein hydrolysates in powder form or as solutions (e.g. GELITA KLAR®) are particularly suitable for such applications as they can be distributed evenly without gelling, even in cold beverages. Turbidity particles, due to their possessing an opposite electrical charge, form aggregates which then precipitate; they can then be easily removed. If necessary, gelatine treatment can be enhanced by adding silicic acid solution or bentonite. This helps to give the wines or juices the desired degree of brilliance.

Raw materials for Gelatine
Gelatine is manufactured from three raw materials

Gelatine from GELITA Group is manufactured from selected collagenous raw materials from pigs (pigskin), cattle (split) and their bones. These materials are taken only from animals that have been released for human consumption by the relevant veterinary authorities.



The principal suppliers of pigskin are slaughterhouses and meat processing factories. There, the split is separated from the underlying layer of fat and, depending on the distances involved, transported to our gelatine factories fresh, cooled or deep-frozen. If necessary, the material is stored in our own refrigerated warehouses until required.

The mid-layer of the animal skin is an important raw material in gelatine production. Subsequent to slaughter, the skins are sent to skin-processing factories where they are subjected to intensive washing with milk of lime or other alkaline solutions to remove the hair.

The skin is then separated into three layers:
• the flesh-containing subcutaneous layer, which is removed
• the upper skin, which is then processed to leather
• the remaining mid-layer, which is used for gelatine production

Prior to transporting to the gelatine factory, lime or salt is added as a preservative. Once at the factory, the skins are thoroughly washed and cut into hand-sized portions.


Gelatine produced from this source is primarily for photographic and pharmaceutical applications. The raw material is obtained directly from slaughterhouses, general processing and meat-processing factories. A complex process then begins: the bone is first chopped into sugar cube-sized pieces; the fat and any residual flesh adhering to the bone are then removed in a combined process involving water, heat and agitation. The bone is then dried, sorted according to particle size and demineralised, leaving a material known as ossein which is the actual starting material in the manufacture of gelatine.
Production Of Gelatin, some Gelatin Haram?
Preparation of raw materials (Gelatin)

Two principal processes are employed in the manufacture of gelatine:

Acid process - for type A gelatine:

The raw material (primarily pigskin) is first subjected to a 3-day digestion process. Here, the material is treated with acid and immediately afterwards the gelatine extraction process can be commenced.

Alkaline process - for type B gelatine:

This process extends over a period of several weeks and gently converts the collagen structure. Only ossein or split can be used. The collagen produced in this way is soluble in warm water.


Warm water is then added to the pre-treated material and a multi-stage extraction process commences. The first gelatine fractions obtained, at low temperature, have the highest gellation status; an approximately 5% solution is obtained. The remaining material is then extracted using fresh, warmer water. This process is repeated until the last traces of gelatine are extracted using boiling water. As the pre-treatment carried out is extremely thorough, very little residue remains after extraction.

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