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Development of a method to detect gelatine in vegetarian products - FA0212

Gelatine is an extremely versatile low cost food protein used as a thickener, stabilizer, texturizer, gelling and water binding agent in foods [1].
The protein is derived principally from porcine skin and bovine bone collagen (and occasionally hides) by either acid treatment (porcine gelatine) or alkali and acid treatment (bovine gelatine). There is also some production of fish and chicken gelatine.
Since the protein is of animal origin it must be omitted from foods described as suitable for vegetarians. The current method in place for the enforcement of this description is the detection of hydroxyproline, an amino acid originally believed to be only present in collagen and gelatine. However plant cell walls also contain hydroxyproline in a number of the structural glycoproteins. As a result the direct analysis for hydroxyproline in vegetarian foods is an unreliable indicator of the presence of gelatine so a more appropriate approach is required to detect gelatine at low levels in vegetarian foods and beverages
Number Objective title Achieved
01/01 Obtain authentic samples of bovine, porcine, fish and avian gelatine Yes
01/02 In-house validation of the AOAC determination of hydroxyproline Yes
01/03 Optimise water extraction and ultra-filtration Yes
01/04 Evaluate collagenase and ß-glucosyl Yariv reagent to eliminate interferences Yes, tannic acid used as an alternative to ß-glucosyl Yariv reagent
01/05 Project progress meeting Yes
02/01 Validation of modified procedure to detect gelatine Yes
02/02 Analysis of commercial samples Yes
02/03 Preparation of final report Yes
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : web version Final Report Q01118 Nov 08   (177k)
• EXE - Executive Summary : Final report Q and A - Gelatine in vegetarian products   (187k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2008

Contractor / Funded Organisations