Gelatin: overview of identification methods

Document Type : Review


1 Food and Drug Department, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.

3 Nutrition Research Center and Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Nutrition and Food Science, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.; Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

4 Department of Pathobiology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background and objective: Gelatin is mostly produced from porcine and bovine collagens (skin/hide and bone) and less from poultry and fish. Acceptance of gelatin resource is based on religious and cultural beliefs, health and dietary aspects. In fact, high sensitivities to the resource of gelatin are reported in various societies. Therefore, conformity of gelatin with customer needs should essentially be ensured. In this review, summarized information on gelatin extraction and identification methods, structure, uses and possible substitutes from 1960 to recent years are presented.
Results and conclusion: Several methods have been used for identification of halal gelatin origins. These methods are majorly based on sedimentation, high performance liquid chromatography, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, DNA identification using polymerase chain reaction, and electrophoresis. Efficiency of these methods should be assessed based on the method ability to accurate and sensitive distinguish gelatin sources in mixtures. In recent years, high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectroscopy has been used frequently with high sensitivity and accuracy to detect gelatin origins. In comparison, DNA identification include several advantages such as use of small quantities of target materials, high sensitivity and accuracy, low dependency on destructive process factors, and good functional capability. Although, if long times and high temperatures are used during gelatin extraction, DNA may be degraded. Other than identification methods, study of diverse gelatin substitutes is recommended for further studies due to the current concerns about source of gelatin.


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