Gelatin
Overview
 
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless solid substance
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

, derived from the collagen
Collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

 inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

, pharmaceuticals, photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar way are called gelatinous. Gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolysed form of collagen, and is classified as a foodstuff and therefore carries no E Number
E number
E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union . They are commonly found on food labels throughout the European Union. Safety assessment and approval are the responsibility of the European Food Safety Authority...

 http://www.food.gov.uk/safereating/chemsafe/additivesbranch/enumberlist http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:354:0016:0033:EN:PDF.
Encyclopedia
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless solid substance
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

, derived from the collagen
Collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

 inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

, pharmaceuticals, photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar way are called gelatinous. Gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolysed form of collagen, and is classified as a foodstuff and therefore carries no E Number
E number
E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union . They are commonly found on food labels throughout the European Union. Safety assessment and approval are the responsibility of the European Food Safety Authority...

 http://www.food.gov.uk/safereating/chemsafe/additivesbranch/enumberlist http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:354:0016:0033:EN:PDF. It is found in some gummy candies as well as other products such as marshmallows, gelatin dessert
Gelatin dessert
Gelatin desserts are desserts made with sweetened and flavored gelatin. They can be made by combining plain gelatin with other ingredients or by using a premixed blend of gelatin with additives...

, and some low-fat yogurt. Household gelatin comes in the form of sheets, granules, or powder. Instant types can be added to the food as they are; others need to be soaked in water beforehand.

Composition and properties

Gelatin is a mixture of peptide
Peptide
Peptides are short polymers of amino acid monomers linked by peptide bonds. They are distinguished from proteins on the basis of size, typically containing less than 50 monomer units. The shortest peptides are dipeptides, consisting of two amino acids joined by a single peptide bond...

s and protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s produced by partial hydrolysis
Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which molecules of water are split into hydrogen cations and hydroxide anions in the process of a chemical mechanism. It is the type of reaction that is used to break down certain polymers, especially those made by condensation polymerization...

 of collagen
Collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

 extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals such as domesticated cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, chicken, and pigs
PIGS
PIGS is a four letter acronym that can stand for:* PIGS , Phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis, class S, a human gene* PIGS , the economies of Portugal, Italy , Greece and Spain...

. The natural molecular bonds between individual collagen strands are broken down into a form that rearranges more easily. Gelatin melts to a liquid when heated and solidifies when cooled again. Together with water, it forms a semi-solid colloid
Colloid
A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance.A colloidal system consists of two separate phases: a dispersed phase and a continuous phase . A colloidal system may be solid, liquid, or gaseous.Many familiar substances are colloids, as shown in the chart below...

 gel
Gel
A gel is a solid, jelly-like material that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute cross-linked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state...

.

Gelatin forms a solution of high viscosity
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

 in water, which sets to a gel on cooling, and its chemical composition is, in many respects, closely similar to that of its parent collagen.

Gelatin solutions show viscoelastic flow and streaming birefringence
Birefringence
Birefringence, or double refraction, is the decomposition of a ray of light into two rays when it passes through certain anisotropic materials, such as crystals of calcite or boron nitride. The effect was first described by the Danish scientist Rasmus Bartholin in 1669, who saw it in calcite...

. If gelatin is put into contact with cold water, some of the material dissolves. The solubility of the gelatin is determined by the method of manufacture. Typically, gelatin can be dispersed in a relatively concentrated acid. Such dispersions are stable for 10–15 days with little or no chemical changes and are suitable for coating purposes or for extrusion into a precipitating bath.

Gelatin is also soluble in most polar solvents. Gelatin gels exist over only a small temperature range, the upper limit being the melting point of the gel, which depends on gelatin grade and concentration and the lower limit, the freezing point at which ice crystallizes. The mechanical properties are very sensitive to temperature variations, previous thermal history of the gel, and time. The viscosity of the gelatin/water mixture increases with concentration and when kept cool (≈ 4 °C). Agar
Agar
Agar or agar-agar is a gelatinous substance derived from a polysaccharide that accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte red algae. Throughout history into modern times, agar has been chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia and also as a solid substrate to contain culture medium...

 is a vegetable-based gelatin substitute.

Production

The worldwide production amount of gelatin is about 300,000 tons per year (roughly 600 million lb). On a commercial scale, gelatin is made from by-product
By-product
A by-product is a secondary product derived from a manufacturing process or chemical reaction. It is not the primary product or service being produced.A by-product can be useful and marketable or it can be considered waste....

s of the meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 and leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 industry. Recently, fish by-products have also been considered because they eliminate some of the religious obstacles surrounding gelatin consumption.
Gelatin is derived mainly from pork skins, pork and cattle bones, or split cattle hides; contrary to popular belief, horns and hooves are not used. The raw materials are prepared by different curing, acid, and alkali processes which are employed to extract the dried collagen hydrolysate. These processes may take up to several weeks, and differences in such processes have great effects on the properties of the final gelatin products.

Gelatin can also be prepared in the home. Boiling certain cartilaginous cuts of meat or bones will result in gelatin being dissolved into the water. Depending on the concentration, the resulting broth (when cooled) will naturally form a jelly
Gelatin dessert
Gelatin desserts are desserts made with sweetened and flavored gelatin. They can be made by combining plain gelatin with other ingredients or by using a premixed blend of gelatin with additives...

 or gel. This process is used for aspic
Aspic
Aspic is a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé. Non-savory dishes, often made with commercial gelatin mixes without stock or consommé, are usually called gelatin salads....

.

While there are many processes whereby collagen can be converted to gelatin, they all have several factors in common. The intermolecular and intramolecular bonds which stabilize insoluble collagen rendering it insoluble must be broken, and the hydrogen bonds which stabilize the collagen helix
Helix
A helix is a type of smooth space curve, i.e. a curve in three-dimensional space. It has the property that the tangent line at any point makes a constant angle with a fixed line called the axis. Examples of helixes are coil springs and the handrails of spiral staircases. A "filled-in" helix – for...

 must also be broken. The manufacturing processes of gelatin consists of three main stages:
  1. Pretreatments to make the raw materials ready for the main extraction step and to remove impurities which may have negative effects on physiochemical properties of the final gelatin product,
  2. The main extraction step, which is usually done with hot water or dilute acid solutions as a multi-stage extraction to hydrolyze collagen into gelatin, and finally,
  3. The refining and recovering treatments including filtration, clarification, evaporation, sterilization, drying, rutting, grinding, and sifting to remove the water from the gelatin solution, to blend the gelatin extracted, and to obtain dried, blended and ground final product.

Pretreatments

If the physical material that will be used in production is derived from bones, dilute acid solutions are used to remove calcium and similar salts. Hot water or several solvents may be used for degreasing. Maximum fat content of the material should not exceed 1% before the main extraction step. If the raw material is hides and skin, size reduction, washing, removing hair from the hides, and degreasing are the most important pretreatments used to make the hides and skins ready for the main extraction step. Raw material preparation for extraction is done by three different methods: acid, alkali, and enzymatic treatments. Acid treatment is especially suitable for less fully crosslinked materials such as pig skin collagen. Pig skin collagen is less complex than the collagen found in bovine hides. Acid treatment is faster than alkali treatment and normally requires 10 to 48 hours. Alkali treatment is suitable for more complex collagen, e.g., the collagen found in bovine hides. This process requires longer time, normally several weeks. The purpose of the alkali treatment is to destroy certain chemical crosslinkages still present in collagen. The gelatin obtained from acid treated raw material has been called type-A gelatin, and the gelatin obtained from alkali treated raw material is referred to as type-B gelatin. Enzymatic treatments used for preparing raw material for the main extraction step are relatively new. Enzymatic treatments have some advantages in contrast to alkali treatment. Time required for enzymatic treatment is short, the yield is almost 100% in enzymatic treatment, the purity is also higher, and the physical properties of the final gelatin product are better.

Extraction

After preparation of the raw material, i.e., reducing crosslinkages between collagen components and removing some of the impurities such as fat and salts, partially purified collagen is converted into gelatin by extraction with either water or acid solutions at appropriate temperatures. All industrial processes are based on neutral or acid pH values because though alkali treatments speed up conversion, they also promote degradation processes. Acid extract conditions are extensively used in the industry but the degree of acid varies with different processes. This extraction step is a multi stage process, and the extraction temperature is usually increased in later extraction steps. This procedure ensures the minimum thermal degradation of the extracted gelatin.

Recovery

This process includes several steps such as filtration, evaporation, drying, grinding, and sifting. These operations are concentration-dependent and also dependent on the particular gelatin used. Gelatin degradation should be avoided and minimized, therefore the lowest temperature possible is used for the recovery process. Most recoveries are rapid, with all of the processes being done in several stages to avoid extensive deterioration of the peptide structure. A deteriorated peptide structure would result in a low gelling strength, which is not generally desired.

Uses

Probably best known as a gelling agent in cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

, different types and grades of gelatin are used in a wide range of food and non-food products:
Common examples of foods that contain gelatin are gelatin dessert
Gelatin dessert
Gelatin desserts are desserts made with sweetened and flavored gelatin. They can be made by combining plain gelatin with other ingredients or by using a premixed blend of gelatin with additives...

s, trifle
Trifle
Trifle is a dessert dish made from thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or gelatin, and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top....

s, aspic
Aspic
Aspic is a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé. Non-savory dishes, often made with commercial gelatin mixes without stock or consommé, are usually called gelatin salads....

, marshmallow
Marshmallow
The marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin that has been softened in hot water, dextrose, vanilla flavourings, and sometimes colouring, whipped to a spongy consistency. Some marshmallow recipes call for egg whites...

s, candy corn
Candy corn
Candy corn is a confection in the United States and Canada, popular primarily in autumn around Halloween . Candy corn was created in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company; the three colors of the candy mimic the appearance of kernels of corn...

, and confectioneries such as Peeps
Peeps
Peeps are marshmallow candies, sold in the United States and Canada, that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals. There are also different shapes used for various holidays. Peeps are used primarily to fill Easter baskets, though recent ad campaigns tout the candy as "Peeps - Always in...

, gummy bears and jelly babies
Jelly baby
Jelly babies are a type of soft confectionery that look like little babies in a variety of colours. There are currently several brands of jelly babies, most predominantly Trebor Bassett , Rowntree , Norfolk Manor, and Haribo.Jelly babies were launched by Bassett's in 1918 in Sheffield...

. Gelatin may be used as a stabilizer, thickener, or texturizer in foods such as jams, yoghurt
Yoghurt
Yoghurt, yogurt or yogourt is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yoghurt are known as "yoghurt cultures"...

, cream cheese
Cream cheese
Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting, white cheese with a high fat content. Traditionally, it is made from unskimmed milk enriched with additional cream....

, and margarine
Margarine
Margarine , as a generic term, can indicate any of a wide range of butter substitutes, typically composed of vegetable oils. In many parts of the world, the market share of margarine and spreads has overtaken that of butter...

; it is used, as well, in fat-reduced foods to simulate the mouthfeel
Mouthfeel
Mouthfeel is a product's physical and chemical interaction in the mouth, an aspect of food rheology. It is a concept used in many areas related to the testing and evaluating of foodstuffs, such as wine-tasting and rheology. It is evaluated from initial perception on the palate, to first bite,...

 of fat and to create volume without adding calories.
Gelatin is used for the clarification of juices, such as apple juice, and of vinegar. Isinglass
Isinglass
Isinglass is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized gluing purposes....

, from the swim bladders of fish, is still used as a fining agent for wine and beer. Beside hartshorn jelly, from deer antlers (hence the name "hartshorn"), isinglass was one of the oldest sources of gelatin.

Technical uses

  • Certain professional and theatrical lighting equipment use color gel
    Color gel
    A color gel or color filter , also known as lighting gel or simply gel, is a transparent colored material that is used in theatre, event production, photography, videography and cinematography to color light and for color correction...

    s to change the beam
    Light beam
    A light beam or beam of light is a narrow projection of light energy radiating from a source into a beam. Sunlight is a natural example of a light beam when filtered through various mediums...

     color. These used to be made with gelatin, hence the term color gel.
  • Gelatin typically constitutes the shells of pharmaceutical capsules in order to make them easier to swallow. Hypromellose
    Hypromellose
    Hypromellose , short for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose , is a semisynthetic, inert, viscoelastic polymer used as an ophthalmic lubricant, as well as an excipient and controlled-delivery component in oral medicaments, found in a variety of commercial products.As a food additive, hypromellose is an...

     is a vegan-acceptable alternative to gelatin, but is more expensive to produce.
  • Animal glue
    Animal glue
    An animal glue is an adhesive that is created by prolonged boiling of animal connective tissue.These protein colloid glues are formed through hydrolysis of the collagen from skins, bones, tendons, and other tissues, similar to gelatin. The word "collagen" itself derives from Greek κόλλα kolla, glue...

    s such as hide glue are essentially unrefined gelatin.
  • It is used to hold silver halide
    Silver halide
    A silver halide is one of the compounds formed between silver and one of the halogens — silver bromide , chloride , iodide , and three forms of silver fluorides. As a group, they are often referred to as the silver halides, and are often given the pseudo-chemical notation AgX...

     crystals in an emulsion
    Emulsion
    An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible . Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion is used when both the dispersed and the...

     in virtually all photographic film
    Photographic film
    Photographic film is a sheet of plastic coated with an emulsion containing light-sensitive silver halide salts with variable crystal sizes that determine the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film...

    s and photographic paper
    Photographic paper
    Photographic paper is paper coated with light-sensitive chemicals, used for making photographic prints.Photographic paper is exposed to light in a controlled manner, either by placing a negative in contact with the paper directly to produce a contact print, by using an enlarger in order to create a...

    s. Despite some efforts, no suitable substitutes with the stability and low cost of gelatin have been found.
  • Used as a carrier, coating or separating agent for other substances; for example, it makes beta-carotene
    Beta-carotene
    β-Carotene is a strongly-coloured red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. It is an organic compound and chemically is classified as a hydrocarbon and specifically as a terpenoid , reflecting its derivation from isoprene units...

     water-soluble thus imparting a yellow colour to any soft drink
    Soft drink
    A soft drink is a non-alcoholic beverage that typically contains water , a sweetener, and a flavoring agent...

    s containing beta-carotene.
  • Gelatin is closely related to bone glue and is used as a binder in match
    Match
    A match is a tool for starting a fire under controlled conditions. A typical modern match is made of a small wooden stick or stiff paper. One end is coated with a material that can be ignited by frictional heat generated by striking the match against a suitable surface...

     heads and sandpaper
    Sandpaper
    Sandpaper, also known as glasspaper, is a heavy paper with abrasive material attached to its surface.Sandpaper is part of the "coated abrasives" family of abrasive products. It is used to remove small amounts of material from surfaces, either to make them smoother , to remove a layer of material...

    .
  • Cosmetics
    Cosmetics
    Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

     may contain a non-gelling variant of gelatin under the name hydrolyzed collagen
    Hydrolyzed collagen (hydrolysate)
    Hydrolyzed collagen is usually made from type I collagen by an enzymatic hydrolysis process. It is also called collagen hydrolysate, collagen peptide, gelatine, gelatine hydrolysate and hydrolyzed gelatine.- Characteristics and production :...

    .
  • Gelatin was first used an external surface sizing
    Sizing
    Sizing or size is any one of numerous specific substances that is applied to or incorporated in other material, especially papers and textiles, to act as a protecting filler or glaze....

     for paper in 1337 and continued as a dominant sizing agent of all European papers through the mid-19th century. In modern times it occasionally found in some glossy printing papers, artistic papers, playing cards, and it maintains the wrinkles in crêpe paper
    Crêpe paper
    Crêpe paper is tissue paper that has been coated with sizing and then creped to create gathers.-Production:Paper that is creped is produced on a paper machine that has a single large steam-heated drying cylinder fitted with a hot-air hood. The raw material is paper pulp. The Yankee cylinder is...

    .

Other uses

  • Blocks of ballistic gelatin
    Ballistic gelatin
    Ballistic Gelatin is a testing medium scientifically correlated to swine muscle tissue , in which the effects of bullet wounds can be simulated. It was developed and improved by Martin Fackler and others in the field of wound ballistics. Ballistic gelatin is a solution of gelatin powder in water...

     simulate muscle tissue as a standardized medium for testing firearm
    Firearm
    A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

    s ammunition
    Ammunition
    Ammunition is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war , but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery. The collective term for all types of ammunition is munitions...

    .
  • Gelatin is used by synchronized swimmers
    Synchronized swimming
    Synchronized swImming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers performing a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music....

     to hold their hair in place during their routines as it will not dissolve in the cold water of the pool. It is frequently referred to as "knoxing," a reference to Knox brand gelatin.
  • When added to boiling water and cooled, unflavored gelatin can make a home-made hair styling gel
    Hair gel
    Hair gel is a hairstyling product that is used to stiffen hair into a particular hairstyle. The results it produces are usually similar to, but stronger than, those of hair spray and hair wax, and weaker than those of hair glue.-Types:...

     that is cheaper than many commercial hair styling products, but by comparison has a shorter shelf life (about a week) when stored in this form (usually in a refrigerator). After being applied to scalp hair, it can be removed with rinsing and some shampoo.
  • It is commonly used as a biological substrate to culture adherent cells.
  • Also used by those who are sensitive to tannins (which can irritate the stomach) in teas, soups or brews.
  • It may be used as a medium with which to consume LSD
    LSD
    Lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD or LSD-25, also known as lysergide and colloquially as acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, well known for its psychological effects which can include altered thinking processes, closed and open eye visuals, synaesthesia, an...

    . LSD in gelatin form is known as "windowpane" or "geltabs."
  • Gelatin is used to make the shells of paintballs, similar to the way pharmaceutical capsules are produced.
  • Gelatin is also used as an ingredient in implantable medical devices, such as in some bone void fillers. Doctors may discuss this with their patients in cases of religious beliefs.
  • Gelatin is also used in nail polish remover and makeup applications. The gelatin is often tinted in different colors to match a model's natural skin tone.
  • Leaf or sheet gelatin is also used directly in food-based model-making, for example to make translucent, edible, diamond-paned windows in gingerbread houses.

Religion and gelatin substitutes

Special kinds of gelatin indicate the specific animal that was used for its production. For example, Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 halal
Halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

 or Jewish kosher customs may require gelatin from sources other than pigs, like cows and/or fish and from animals slaughtered ritually. Muslims do not eat foods or use products that contain gelatin derived from porcine sources and there is debate on whether Muslims can consume gelatin derived from animals which were not slaughtered in the Islamic ritual manner. However, there are many different views to this, as some Muslims do not follow halal, yet do not eat pork. There are many companies that specifically indicate the source of the gelatin used and let the consumers know this via the nutrition information and/or their hotline. Likewise, Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 customs may require gelatin from sources other than animals. Many Hindus are vegetarian; however, few Hindus, who are not vegetarians, don't mind gelatin from all the sources but cow, which is considered sacred. Vegans and most vegetarians choose not to eat foods containing gelatin made from animals. Romani people (Gypsies) are cautious of gelatin products that may have been made from horses, as consuming horses is culturally forbidden to them.

Some dietary or religious customs forbid the use of gelatin from certain animal sources, and medical issues may limit or prevent its consumption by certain people.

Alternatives to gelatin include non-animal gel sources such as agar-agar (a seaweed), carrageenan
Carrageenan
Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red seaweeds. There are several varieties of carrageen used in cooking and baking. Kappa-carrageenan is used mostly in breading and batter due to its gelling nature...

, pectin
Pectin
Pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. It was first isolated and described in 1825 by Henri Braconnot...

, konjak, and guar gum
Guar gum
Guar gum, also called guaran, is a galactomannan. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, pale, off-white-colored, coarse to fine ground powder.-Production:Guar gum is an...

.

Medical and nutritional properties

Although gelatin is 98-99% protein by dry weight, it has less nutritional value than many other protein sources. Gelatin is unusually high in the non-essential amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

s glycine
Glycine
Glycine is an organic compound with the formula NH2CH2COOH. Having a hydrogen substituent as its 'side chain', glycine is the smallest of the 20 amino acids commonly found in proteins. Its codons are GGU, GGC, GGA, GGG cf. the genetic code.Glycine is a colourless, sweet-tasting crystalline solid...

 and proline
Proline
Proline is an α-amino acid, one of the twenty DNA-encoded amino acids. Its codons are CCU, CCC, CCA, and CCG. It is not an essential amino acid, which means that the human body can synthesize it. It is unique among the 20 protein-forming amino acids in that the α-amino group is secondary...

 (i.e., those produced by the human body), while lacking certain essential amino acid
Essential amino acid
An essential amino acid or indispensable amino acid is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized de novo by the organism , and therefore must be supplied in the diet.-Essentiality vs. conditional essentiality in humans:...

s (i.e., those not produced by the human body). It contains no tryptophan
Tryptophan
Tryptophan is one of the 20 standard amino acids, as well as an essential amino acid in the human diet. It is encoded in the standard genetic code as the codon UGG...

 and is deficient in isoleucine
Isoleucine
Isoleucine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCHCH2CH3. It is an essential amino acid, which means that humans cannot synthesize it, so it must be ingested. Its codons are AUU, AUC and AUA....

, threonine
Threonine
Threonine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCHCH3. Its codons are ACU, ACA, ACC, and ACG. This essential amino acid is classified as polar...

, and methionine
Methionine
Methionine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCH2CH2SCH3. This essential amino acid is classified as nonpolar. This amino-acid is coded by the codon AUG, also known as the initiation codon, since it indicates mRNA's coding region where translation into protein...

. The approximate amino acid composition of gelatin is: glycine
Glycine
Glycine is an organic compound with the formula NH2CH2COOH. Having a hydrogen substituent as its 'side chain', glycine is the smallest of the 20 amino acids commonly found in proteins. Its codons are GGU, GGC, GGA, GGG cf. the genetic code.Glycine is a colourless, sweet-tasting crystalline solid...

 21%, proline
Proline
Proline is an α-amino acid, one of the twenty DNA-encoded amino acids. Its codons are CCU, CCC, CCA, and CCG. It is not an essential amino acid, which means that the human body can synthesize it. It is unique among the 20 protein-forming amino acids in that the α-amino group is secondary...

 12%, hydroxyproline
Hydroxyproline
-4-Hydroxyproline, or L-hydroxyproline , is a common non-proteinogenic amino acid, abbreviated as HYP, e.g., in Protein Data Bank.-Structure and discovery:...

 12%, glutamic acid
Glutamic acid
Glutamic acid is one of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids, and its codons are GAA and GAG. It is a non-essential amino acid. The carboxylate anions and salts of glutamic acid are known as glutamates...

 10%, alanine
Alanine
Alanine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula CH3CHCOOH. The L-isomer is one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the genetic code. Its codons are GCU, GCC, GCA, and GCG. It is classified as a nonpolar amino acid...

 9%, arginine
Arginine
Arginine is an α-amino acid. The L-form is one of the 20 most common natural amino acids. At the level of molecular genetics, in the structure of the messenger ribonucleic acid mRNA, CGU, CGC, CGA, CGG, AGA, and AGG, are the triplets of nucleotide bases or codons that codify for arginine during...

 8%, aspartic acid
Aspartic acid
Aspartic acid is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HOOCCHCH2COOH. The carboxylate anion, salt, or ester of aspartic acid is known as aspartate. The L-isomer of aspartate is one of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids, i.e., the building blocks of proteins...

 6%, lysine
Lysine
Lysine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCH4NH2. It is an essential amino acid, which means that the human body cannot synthesize it. Its codons are AAA and AAG....

 4%, serine
Serine
Serine is an amino acid with the formula HO2CCHCH2OH. It is one of the proteinogenic amino acids. By virtue of the hydroxyl group, serine is classified as a polar amino acid.-Occurrence and biosynthesis:...

 4%, leucine
Leucine
Leucine is a branched-chain α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCH2CH2. Leucine is classified as a hydrophobic amino acid due to its aliphatic isobutyl side chain. It is encoded by six codons and is a major component of the subunits in ferritin, astacin and other 'buffer' proteins...

 3%, valine
Valine
Valine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCH2. L-Valine is one of 20 proteinogenic amino acids. Its codons are GUU, GUC, GUA, and GUG. This essential amino acid is classified as nonpolar...

 2%, phenylalanine
Phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is an α-amino acid with the formula C6H5CH2CHCOOH. This essential amino acid is classified as nonpolar because of the hydrophobic nature of the benzyl side chain. L-Phenylalanine is an electrically neutral amino acid, one of the twenty common amino acids used to biochemically form...

 2%, threonine
Threonine
Threonine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCHCH3. Its codons are ACU, ACA, ACC, and ACG. This essential amino acid is classified as polar...

 2%, isoleucine
Isoleucine
Isoleucine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCHCH2CH3. It is an essential amino acid, which means that humans cannot synthesize it, so it must be ingested. Its codons are AUU, AUC and AUA....

 1%, hydroxylysine
Hydroxylysine
5-Hydroxylysine is an amino acid with the molecular formula C6H14N2O3. It was first discovered in 1921 by Donald Van Slyke. It is a hydroxy derivative of lysine. It is most widely known as a component of collagen....

 1%, methionine
Methionine
Methionine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCHCH2CH2SCH3. This essential amino acid is classified as nonpolar. This amino-acid is coded by the codon AUG, also known as the initiation codon, since it indicates mRNA's coding region where translation into protein...

 and histidine
Histidine
Histidine Histidine, an essential amino acid, has a positively charged imidazole functional group. It is one of the 22 proteinogenic amino acids. Its codons are CAU and CAC. Histidine was first isolated by German physician Albrecht Kossel in 1896. Histidine is an essential amino acid in humans...

 <1% and tyrosine
Tyrosine
Tyrosine or 4-hydroxyphenylalanine, is one of the 22 amino acids that are used by cells to synthesize proteins. Its codons are UAC and UAU. It is a non-essential amino acid with a polar side group...

 <0.5%. These values vary, especially the minor constituents, depending on the source of the raw material and processing technique.

Several Russian researchers offer the following opinion regarding certain peptides found in gelatin: "gelatin peptides reinforce resistance of the stomach mucous tunic to ethanol and stress action, decreasing the ulcer area by twice."

Gelatin is also a topical haemostatic. A piece of gelatin sponge of appropriate size is applied on bleeding wound, pressed for some time and tied in bandage. Haemostatic action is based on platelets damage at the contact of blood with gelatin, which activates the coagulation cascade. Gelatin also causes a tamponading effect - blood flow stoppage into a blood vessel by a constriction of the vessel by an outside force.

Gelatin has also been claimed to promote general joint health. A study at Ball State University
Ball State University
Ball State University is a state-run research university located in Muncie, Indiana. It is also known as Ball State or simply BSU.Located on the northwest side of the city, Ball State's campus spans and includes 106 buildings...

 sponsored by Nabisco
Nabisco
Nabisco is an American brand of cookies and snacks. Headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey, the company is a subsidiary of Illinois-based Kraft Foods. Nabisco's plant in Chicago, a production facility at 7300 S...

, the former parent company of Knox gelatin, found that gelatin supplementation relieved knee joint pain and stiffness in athletes.

Gelatin dessert
Gelatin dessert
Gelatin desserts are desserts made with sweetened and flavored gelatin. They can be made by combining plain gelatin with other ingredients or by using a premixed blend of gelatin with additives...

s may contain high amounts of added sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

.

Safety concerns

Strict regulations apply for all steps in the gelatin manufacturing process. Gelatin is produced from natural raw materials which originate from animals that have been examined and accepted for human consumption by veterinary authorities. Hygienic regulations with respect to fresh raw materials are ensured and each batch of raw material delivered to the manufacturing plant is immediately checked and documented.

In addition to the raw material quality, also the production process itself is an effective quality assurance measure. In the production process a comprehensive monitoring system ensures that potential risks are minimized.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 (FDA), with support from the TSE (Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies , also known as prion diseases, are a group of progressive conditions that affect the brain and nervous system of many animals, including humans. According to the most widespread hypothesis they are transmitted by prions, though some other data suggest an...

) Advisory Committee, has since 1997 been monitoring the potential risk of transmitting animal diseases, especially bovine spongiform encephalopathy
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy , commonly known as mad-cow disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. BSE has a long incubation period, about 30 months to 8 years, usually affecting adult cattle at a peak age onset of...

 (BSE). The FDA study concluded: "...steps such as heat, alkaline treatment, and filtration could be effective in reducing the level of contaminating TSE agents; however, scientific evidence is insufficient at this time to demonstrate that these treatments would effectively remove the BSE infectious agent if present in the source material."

The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) of the European Union (EU) in 2003 stated that the risk associated with bovine bone gelatin is very low or zero.
In 2006 the European Food Safety Authority
European Food Safety Authority
The European Food Safety Authority is an agency of the European Union that provides independent scientific advice and communication on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain, created by European Regulation 178/2002....

 (EFSA) stated that the SSC opinion was confirmed, that the BSE risk of bone-derived gelatin was very small, and removed support for the 2003 request of excluding the skull and vertebrae of bovine origin older than 12 months from the material used in gelatin manufacturing.

All reputable gelatin manufacturers today follow the Quality Management System according to ISO 9001 to comply with all required physical, chemical, microbiological and technical production and quality standards. In this way all process steps follow international laws and customer-specific quality parameters and are guaranteed and documented. For pharmaceutical grade gelatins strict regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European CPMP's regulation and European Pharmacopoeia must be met. A detailed overview of the regulatory requirements for gelatin production can be found in the Gelatine Handbook, page 99-101.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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