Gelatin or gelatine is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless food derived from collagen obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceutical drugs, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolyzed form of collagen, wherein the hydrolysis results in the reduction of protein fibrils into smaller peptides, which will have broad molecular weight ranges associated with physical and chemical methods of denaturation, based on the process of hydrolysis. Gelatin is commonly used in gummy candy, as well as other products such as marshmallows, gelatin desserts, and some ice creams, dips, and yogurts. It can also be found in in shampoos, face masks, and other cosmetics. Gelatin for recipe use comes in the form of sheets, granules, or powder. Instant types can be added to the food as they are; others need to be soaked in water beforehand.
With its versatility, gelatin has numerous and varied uses in the processing of many food products. In confection, it is a key ingredient in products such as marshmallows, gummy candy and fruit snacks. The dairy industry makes extensive use of gelatin in the manufacture of sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, cheese and specialty desserts, while meat processors depend on the properties of gelatin in the production of head cheese, pates, and luncheon meats. Gelatin is an ingredient that is high in protein, fat free, cholesterol free and low in calories. This makes it invaluable in the processing of many other food products.
There are many different grades of gelatin for a variety of uses in the pharmaceutical industry. It is a key ingredient in the production of soft and hard shell gelatin capsules. Gelatin is used as a binder in tablet formulations and as a coating to ease swallowing or mask unpleasant tastes. Cosmetics companies are also important users. Its properties are particularly well suited for encapsulation of bath oils, in moisturizing lotions and skin creams, making it an important contributor to how we look and feel every day.
Gelatin is used in a wide range of technical applications. Gelatin is well equipped to supply many different grades of technical gelatins. In the beer, juice and wine industries, gelatin is used as a clarifying agent. Gelatin is also used in the production of photographic film and paper. Other commercial applications include the manufacture of adhesives, matches, and specialty micro-encapsulated products.