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Creating high-performance gelatins.

A goal of research across Europe is to make high-performance gelatins from alternative sources or from blends of commercial gelatins and alternative gelatins. Research is ongoing on 12 different samples of gelatin from cod, cow hides and bones, and pig skins and bones.

The gelatins are differentiated as alkaline or acidic, and also as high-molecular weight (HMW) or low-molecular weight (LMW) materials. The need for alternative gelatins arises from an estimated 3% annual increase in demand in Europe for gelatin and a reduced availability of raw materials (pig skins and beef hides) used in gelatin production.

Scientists are investigating the structural and functional properties of alternative gelatins. They are studying the formation and structure of different mammalian and fish gelatin gels; examining the functional properties of different mammalian and fish gelatins; evaluating the structure-function relationship of gelatins; making and evaluating blends of the new gelatins and commercial gelatins; and modeling functional properties.

Results indicate that molecular weight is of key importance concerning the viscosity of gelatin solutions. HMW gelatins had the highest viscosities. HMW gelatins also developed more helices than LMW gelatins when they were cooled. The amino acid composition is an important determinant of the temperatures of gel formation and gel melting. Fish gelatins have very low gel formation and melting temperatures. They are also low in hydroxyproline and proline contents. In contrast, mammalian gels have the highest values for these parameters.

Further information. M. Gudmundsson, Food Technology Department, Technological Institute of Iceland, Keldnaholt, IS-112, Reykjavik, Iceland; phone: +354-5707100; fax:+354-5707111; email:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 1999
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