Aquaculture for all

Collagen From Tilapia & Tambaqui Skin

Trout Sustainability Post-harvest +5 more

COLOMBIA - Researchers in Colombia have discovered that collagen can now be taken from the skin of tilapia and tambaqui, through a unique new method.

Collagen is a protein that constitutes 80 per cent of connective tissue (skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, nails, hair and glasses blood) and gives you strength, but with age comes down inexorably.

Traditionally, collagen is obtained from pigs, cows and the siver carp in Europe. However, researchers have been looking for new sources of the protein.

Jenifer Carolina Serrano, a chemical engineer at the National University of Colombia under the direction of Professor Mario Enrique Velasquez, has now extracted collagen from black tilapia and tambaqui with an extraction method that has allowed her to characterise the skin of these fish, and confirm that tambaqui has a higher fibrous protein content compared to tilapia and silver carp.

Global production of tilapia, trout and tambaqui has now grown by 29 per cent. Colombia's production of the fish also rose dramatically as it went from 16,634 tons in 1993 to 43,292 in 2005. Tilapia accounted for 71 per cent of domestic production and tambaqui for 15 per cent.

These increases improved the focus on research.

The innovative new process of extracting the collagen is to take the skin of these fish and expose it to a bleaching process with specific amounts of sodium hypochlorite and enzymes, whilst also being subjected to average temperatures.

The preliminary results has allowed for type I collagen, abundant in the dermis, bone, tendon, dentin and the cornea of fish, to be obtained. There are around 26 types of collagen which can be extracted, they differ according to the structure where the protein is found.

This project was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia and involves the National University of Colombia in partnership with Metafish Acuioriente Food Company SA.

"The goal is now to introduce technology to obtain collagen from fish filleting waste because byproducts such as the skin exceed 904 tonnes per year," explained the researcher.

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