Gelatine (Latin: gelare = solidify, stiff) is a natural food, it is transparent, odorless and tasteless and is used in many applications. To 80 to 90% gelatin consists of protein. Remaining ingredients are water and mineral salts. The Egyptians were the first to make gelatinous substances. At the time of Napoleon gelatine brought great benefits to the French. During the blockade of England, they used gelatin as a source of vital protein.
Processing and preparation of gelatine
Gelatine is made from collagen derived from, among other things, bones, cartilage, tendons and skin of farm animals. After a complex process of processing (cleaning, extraction and heating) remains a yellowish powder, which finds a variety of applications.
Powder of the food industry
Gelatine is used, for example, as a gelling agent and thickener. Gummy bears, jellies, cake sprung and jellies are made from gelatin. Dairy products such as yoghurt, reduced-fat cream cheese and quark, sweets and a variety of desserts may contain gelatin.
The beverage industry also benefits through its use. Dyestuffs in wine and fruit juices are removed with their help. This process is called "clarifying" or "beautiful". The subsequent filtration process frees the beverage for the most part again from the gelatin.
Gelatine in the pharmaceutical industry
Capsules of medicines are made of gelatin. Furthermore, it is used in suppositories, emulsions and as a replacement for blood plasma.
Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
There is evidence that gelatin can be beneficial in the treatment of osteoarthritis. In particular, a gelatin variant, the water-soluble collagen hydrolyzate, is used here in the form of nutritional supplements.
Regular intake may potentially reduce joint pain and increase flexibility. The same applies to osteoporosis. Progressive bone loss can be contained. However, the effect of gelatin or collagen hydrolyzate is controversial.
BSE and gelatin
That gelatin is also made from parts of cattle and not just pigs is known. So it is natural that one or the other asks the question of whether the consumption of the delicious gummy bear may be too risky. Experts claim no: gelatin is safe. On the one hand, gelatine is not produced from BSE risk material, on the other hand, possibly existing pathogens would be killed by the process of processing. The World Health Organization (WHO) supports this opinion.
Many vegetarians, but also some "meat eaters" want to abstain from the consumption of gelatin. Since gelatin is present as a powder in so many products, this is not always easy. However, even vegetarian substitutes are offered by the industry. Like the "vegetarian gummy bear", which uses starch instead of gelatine. Although gelatine can not be replaced "fully", because the gummy bears have a different consistency, but they still taste good.
In addition to starch products, alginates (eg agar agar) and pectins, which are also a herbal option and therefore the "vegetarian" version, are available as substitutes. Here are some examples:
- Pectin: Is obtained from the cell walls of various types of fruit, especially apples. Suitable for gelling, eg for the production of jam and cake
- Agar Agar: Is obtained from sea algae and plays a major role as a breeding ground for bacteria, especially in medicine. It is also ideal for the preparation of jellies and jellies.
- Carrageenan: Also known as "Irish moss", Agar Agar is derived from marine algae. It is used, among other things, in the production of ice cream and cakes.
- Sago: Is obtained from the sago palm, but can also be isolated from potatoes. It is whitish, grained starch that can be used to thicken sauces and soups.