In 1682, Denis Papin found a method to remove collagen from animal bones, discovering gelatin. But it was the inventor Peter Cooper who developed gelatin powder processing. In 1845 he secured his invention with US patent 4084 for a dessert of gelatin powder called “portable gelatin”.
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Use vacuum evaporation to increase the concentration of gelatin
Gelatin is derived from the bones and tissues of healthy pigs, cows, chickens, and fish. These animals must have been first approved for human consumption.
Gelatin powder processing is complex and requires specialized equipment. First, you need steam vessels with increasing temperatures. This will separate the collagen from the tissues. Using hot water, you then extract the collagen from the material. Temperature is the key to the gel strength or bloom value: the lower temperature, the higher the gel strength.
Use separators or centrifuges to remove traces of fat and fibers and further filtering to eliminate unwanted microparticles. A vacuum evaporation system gives the gelatin thickness and concentration. Your process ends with sterilizing, cooling, drying, and grounding to make gelatin powder.
Gelatin powder processing for pharma and nutraceutical products
There are two types of gelatin forms: powder and leaves. Gelatin powder is more common and generally comes in small sachets. But it can also come in big bags to use in industrial processes. In addition, gelatin powder is more commercial and easier to use than leaf gelatin.
Gelatin doesn’t have color, taste, or odor. But you can make magic with it, turning liquids into a gel. It has thickening, emulsifying, binding, and adhesive properties. Moreover, it is a source of protein. It also attracts impurities and clarifies juices, wines, and vinegar. Gelatin can be used to make desserts, gummy candies, and marshmallows. As well as low-fat yogurts, broth, consommé, aspic, and many other food products.
Jelly isn’t only valuable for the food industry. Gelatin powder processing is critical to the pharma and nutraceutical industries. For example, to make softgel vitamin capsules and hard gelatin capsules that are easier to swallow.
Dietary restrictions of animal-based gelatin
Agar-agar and guar gum are among the main plant-based substitutes to gelatin derived from animals.
Agar-agar is made from cooked and pressed algae. Carrageenan, another alternative, is made from dried seaweed named Irish moss. The guar gum is extracted from guar beans and pectin. This last is a fiber found in fruits and vegetables. When heated in a liquid solution, it expands and turns into a gel. These materials are dried and ground to make plant-based gelatin powder.