Gelatin Q & A

Test your gelatin knowledge by reading through these questions and answers.

What is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a protein and in aqueous solutions is a hydrophilic colloid. Gelatin derived from an acid-treated precursor is known as Type A, and gelatin derived from an alkali-treated precursor is known as Type B.

What is Gelatin made from?
Gelatin is obtained by the partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from the skin, white connective tissue and bones of animals. The top four commercial sources of gelatin are Cowhide Splits, Bones (ossein) Pork Skin, and Fish Skin. Gelatin does not occur freely in nature, and cannot be recovered from horns, hoofs and other non-collagen containing parts of vertebrate animals. There are no plant sources of gelatin, and there is no chemical relationship between gelatin and other materials referred to as vegetable gelatin, such as seaweed extracts.

How is it made?
An explanation of the production of gelatins will help in understanding the properties and the characteristics which exist among several types and grades. (Please click here for a Product Flow Chart) Gelatin is derived from collagen, an insoluble fibrous protein that occurs in vertebrates and is the principal constituent of connective tissues and bones. Collagen is distinctive in that it contains an unusually high level of the cyclic amino acids; proline and hydroxyproline. Collagen consists of three helical polypeptide chains wound around each other and connected by intermolecular cross links. Gelatin is recovered from collagen by hydrolysis. There are several varieties of gelatin, the composition of which depends on the source of collagen and the hydrolytic treatment used.

Is all gelatin the same?
No. Gelatin is tested and “Graded” according to strength. The Grade is based on the “Bloom” test and the higher the Bloom number the higher the gel set. Gelatin is usually priced according to the gelling ability; consequently the higher the bloom, the higher the price.

Gelatin can also be classified according to its ability to meet various standards. Gelatin that meets certain standards may be categorized as Food grade, U.S.P National Formulary U.S.P./N.F. and Technical, etc.

What is “Bloom”?
The measurement of force, in grams, required to depress a standard plunger 4mm into the surface of a 6.67% gelatin sample at 10ºC (50ºF) The firmer the set of gelatin, the higher the bloom strength.

Gelatin consists of?
Approximately 86% protein, 12% moisture & 2% ash.

The difference between Gelatin & Hydrolyzed Gelatin?
Hydrolyzed Gelatin does not gel. (Hydrolyzed gelatin has had its gelling function enzymatically removed.)

Melting point?
Temperature at which gelatin initially melts into a liquid solution. Moisture Percentage of water driven off from gelatin after heating the gelatin to 105ºC for 17 hours.

Residue on Ignition?
Percentage of residue after reducing the gelatin to an ash at 550ºC.

Setting point?
Temperature at which gelatin initially forms a gel.

What is Viscosity?
It is the measure of resistance of a gelatin solution 6.67% to flow at 60ºC (140ºF). The flow time of this solution is measured by passing it through a standardized pipette which is approved and utilized by the G.M.I.A. (Gelatin Manufacturers Institute of America) The time required for the solution to pass through this pipette is mathematically converted into a viscosity measurement expressed in millipoise.