Gelatine handbook targets better understanding

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Amino acid

A comprehensive work of reference on gelatine could help food
makers make better use of an important but rather unfashionable

The 'Handbook of Gelatine'​ , a comprehensive manual of all current and numerous potential applications of the protein gelatine from German scientific publishers Wiley-VCH, is aimed principally at technologists and application specialists in science and industry. The handbook provides detailed information on the technological and physiological properties of the ingredient. The authors of the book are previous members of the management board of gelatine specialist Gelita. Gelatine is a translucent colourless substance, created by prolonged boiling of animal skin, connective tissue or bones. It is most commonly used as a stabiliser, thickener, or texturiser in foods such as ice cream, jams and yoghurt, and is also used to improve the mouthfeel of various products. But despite its functionality, which is what the handbook focuses on, the gelatine industry is increasingly threatened by vegetarian alternatives. The reason for this appears to be the knock-on effect of recent food safety fears, which have led to the emergence a new market in vegetarian supplement ingredients. Scares such as BSE in cattle and avian 'flu in poultry have prompted consumers and marketers to look for products containing no animal derivatives. One of the major problems for the industry therefore is convincing consumers that these concerns are unfounded. Oliver Wols of Gelita told recently that they have conclusively proven that there is no link between gelatine and BSE. ​Wols explained that even if pathogens did find there way into the raw materials - and there are rigorous checks, including tests on the live animals, to prevent that from happening - the production process would kill off 10,000 more pathogens that could possibly be in it. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that gelatine has health-promoting properties. For example, the natural protein gelatine contains amino acids glycine and proline in a concentration that is around 10 to 20 times higher than in other proteins. These amino acids perform an important function for building up connective tissue. An insufficient supply of these amino acids can make itself known in the form of painful joints as well as brittle fingernails and hair. The 325-page Handbook of Gelatine is now available commercially in hard cover format priced €129.

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