Gelatin is a solid substance that comes from the collagen found inside the skin and bones of some animals, mostly from pigs, cattles and other domesticated animals. The collagen becomes gelatin after undergoing the process of partial hydrolysis. Gelatin is a protein that is translucent, colorless, odor-free, breakable and almost without taste. One property of gelatin is its ability to melt easily when heated and in the same way, solidify when cooled.
Gelatin is used in a wide variety of foods and is also used to make the colored capsules which different kinds of powdered medications are placed inside. Chromium can be toxic and carcinogenic if ingested in excessive amounts.
Natural gelatin, extracted from the shiny skin of a seagoing fish called Alaskan pollock, may someday be put to intriguing new biomedical uses. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Bor-Sen Chiou is developing strong yet pliable sheets, known as films or membranes, that might be made from a blend of gelatin from the fish skins and a bioplastic called polylactic acid or PLA that’s produced from fermented corn sugar.
Historically, gelatin is produced by extraction from collagen-rich tissues, such as bovine or porcine skin or bone, using either acid or base. Currently available gelatin preparations consist of a distribution of polypeptide fragments of different sizes, different isoelectric points (pI), and different gelling properties, and often exhibit lot-to-lot variability. The physiochemical properties of these gelatins vary depending on method of extraction, amount of thermal denaturation employed, electrolyte content, and, in the case of liquid formulations of vaccines and biologics, the additional processing steps applied to prevent gelling of the resulting material. The variable nature of such gelatin preparations presents a significant challenge to those who use these protein mixtures in the manufacture of gelatin-containing products.