Collagen - the most versatile food by-product
Collagen is one of the main proteins found in vertebrates (or back-boned animals). It may come as no surprise that people have been using it for millennia for a wide range of applications and is currently considered one of the main by-products of the meat industry. But it’s also the protein in the hides and skins that is affected by tanning hides and creating leather.
Collagen actually forms the main part of the skins and hides that are treated in the tanning process and its structure is part of the reason behind leather’s unique properties. During the beamhouse phase, all the fats, oils and hair in the skin are removed, leaving the collagen framework behind as the basis for leather. During the tanning process, the collagen is cross-linked and that is where a hide turns into stable leather that retains flexibility and resistant properties.
But that’s not the end for all the extracted leftovers and the various other by-products. The demand for collagen is high, and it can be obtained from bones, tissue and other animal parts. This protein is used in the cosmetic and medical industries as a resource for applications like wound healing, strengthening of tissue, bone and joints, skin rejuvenation, cell repair and bone reconstruction. It’s also used frequently in skincare products, foodstuffs, glue and many other products you may use on a daily basis. Collagen can even be used to create that melt-in-your-mouth texture in low-fat chocolate.
Find out more about leather and by-products.