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Abstract

Gelatin is a traditional functional protein with water-soluble properties and has the potential of forming transparent gels under certain conditions. The major source of gelatin is pigskin and is using in processed food and medicinal products. Though the use of food products adulterated with porcine-derived gelatin create concerns in the mind of Muslim communities, as in Islam; it is not acceptable or literally, it is called Haram in Islam Religion. However, in recent times initiatives have been taken in producing gelatin from Halal sources, such as fish, chicken and bovine slaughtered according to Islamic teachings. Therefore, we highlighted different porcine alternative derived gelatin sources and also methods to detect edible product contents pork or other haram stuff. This review could be useful in providing information to a large number of readers and food processing companies to minimize or if possible eradicate the use of porcine-derived gelatin in commercial food and medicinal products.

Keywords: gelatin, muslim, halal, fish, chicken, islam, religion

Introduction

Gelatin is a fibrous protein with high molecular weight, derived from collagen which comprises about 25 to 35% of total body protein, through thermal hydrolysis.1,2 It is the main protein connective tissue and widely found in mammals, birds and fishes.3,4 In general, gelatin plays a vital role in food processing and formulation (i.e., gelling process and some respond to the surface behavior of gelatin).5 The other functional properties of gelatin are of foaming, emulsifying, setting index and water holding capacity.4 Gelatin has commercial use in food, pharmaceutics, cosmetics, and photographic application.6,7

The Muslim population share 23.4% of the total world population (1.6 billion), which has been reported by Jamaluddin et al.8 The demand for halal food is on the rise.9 Regarding the increase in demand of halal food, an issue is raised by many scholars and scientists that, gelatin derived from the pig skin10 is using in almost every processed food products. However, Muslims do not approve gelatin derived from prohibited sources like porcine gelatin except the extreme situation where there is no other alternative.11 In contrast to that, pork derived gelatin can be replace by using gelatin derived from halal sources. Such as fish,12 cow,13 chicken and turkey14  derived gelatin.

In the recent past, a handsome amount of review articles has published.5,15,16 However, based on our exploration capability, no comprehensive study is available to clarify between porcine, and it’s alternative (Halal) derived gelatin. The need of this study is to shed light on the issue of Halal and Haram gelatin-based products consumption. Further, showcased its importance in improving antioxidant activities and also outline some methodology to detect porcine adulteration and market data of major Islamic countries. This review might be helpful in the future regarding knowledge and significance about porcine, and its Halal alternative derived gelatin.

Sources of gelatin

The primary source of gelatin is pigskin, but some other sources are also contributing to fulfill requirements of gelatin production.10,17 Porcine content is 46% to the total production of gelatin, bovine hide (29.4%) pork, and cattle bones (23.1%).18 Therefore, more attention has been given to the alternatives of porcine gelatin.19 Further talking about porcine-derived gelatin alternatives, the fish gelatin market share is still low comparing to bovine and porcine gelatin.20 But there is a sizeable amount of available scientific studies reported that aquatic source derived gelatin exhibit better film-forming properties than that of mammalians.21 In addition to that, fish gelatin with a low melting point was reported for having good release properties of food sensory attributes.22 Therefore, it became an important issue to provide gelatin derived from Halal Sources. In contrast to which, gelatin derived from poultry, animals (considered as Halal and slaughter according to Islamic rules) and especially marine sources23 can be accepted as Halal and might be a potential alternative for porcine gelatin (Table 1).

Source

Gel Strength (g)

References

Aquatic

Farmed giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) skins

153

24

Mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala) skins

343

25

Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix ) skins

600

10

Catla (Catla catla) swim bladders

265

26

Nile perch (Lates niloticus) skins

240

27

Rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) skins

459

2)

Alaska pollock skins

98

28

Dover sole (solea vulgaris)

350

29

Seabass (Lates calcarifer)

321

30

Grey trigger fish

190

31

catfish (Pangasius sutchi) bone

254

12

Pink perch (Nemipterus japonicas) skins

140

32

Pink perch (Nemipterus japonicas) bones

130

32

Mammals

Bovine skin

225

33

Pork skin

372

34

Cattle short tendons

350-410

35,36

Goatskin

226

37

Yak skin

NA

38

Poultry

Chicken shank and toes

148

39

Skins and tendons of chicken feet

294

40

Chicken and turkey heads

332-368

14

Peking Duck

218

41

Table 1 Different raw sources of commercially produced gelatin

Commercial uses of gelatin

The unique gelling, stabilizing, healing, ointment, capsule and coating properties of gelatin made it as the most widely used biodegradable compound in commercial food production, pharmaceutical and photographic industries.42‒46 The clear and transparent structure of gelatin accounts for its significance, especially in the food and pharmaceutical industries.42 Further, it has been reported that, annually, tons of gelatin has been used in candies, desert, meat, ice cream and bakery products.42,47 Moreover, the gelatin also inhibits the recrystallization of lactose sugar during cold storage.48 While in the pharmaceutical industry, the making of hard and soft capsule shells, tablets, granulation and syrups, all requires gelatin because it serves as a natural coating material and is also highly digestible. According to a report, pharmaceutical industry is using approximately 6% of the total gelatin production.49 For the sports industry, gelatin plays an important role in energy drinks production for athletes and is a necessary component of energy drink.50 In photography, first it was used in 1871 after coating the sensitizing agent on a glass plate in gelatin. The use of gelatin in the cosmetic industry is of high importance, as it is commonly using in shampoo, lipstick, conditioner, cream and fingernail formulas (link available in the reference section). Furthermore, gelatin derived from aquatic sources may be more applicable in the halal/kosher market than that of mammalian and porcine gelatin.

Antioxidant properties of gelatin derived from Halal and porcine sources

The increase in the production of biodegradable polymer like gelatin getting worldwide attention, one of the reasons why producer finds it as an attractive option is due to its antioxidant properties.51,52 There are many sources of gelatin, however, there is a notable growing interest in producing gelatin from fish waste because of the outbreak of mad cow disease and the unacceptability of bovine and porcine-derived gelatin by Muslims, Jews and Hindus community.53 Additionally, fish gelatin possess biologically active peptide, and such peptides have the potential to act as an antioxidant against the like of linoleic acid.54,55 Further, the fish gelatin hydrolyzes with papain to produce antioxidant peptides, which exhibit high radical scavenging properties.56 In contrast to that, hydrolysate derived from fish gelatin can be used as a functional food material that induces immunity against ultraviolet A in the skin and also protects food and others biological system from oxidation.17,57 Moreover, the gelatin derived from the Pacific cod skin was hydrolyzed with pepsin and produced two bioactive peptides namely GASSGMPG (662 Da) and LAYA (436 Da),58 it shows the strong inhibitory effect of Angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE), an important enzyme in the control of hypertension and type-2 diabetes.58 Further, they suggested using it in functional food preparation to lower the blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases (CVD).59 In another study, gelatin from cuttlefish is reported for stopping the β-carotene bleaching by donating an atom to peroxyl radicals of linoleic acid. Which further demonstrated its importance in protecting food from drying and exposure to light.58 Meanwhile, gelatin derived from the poultry waste also exhibit metal chelating and radical scavenging properties and can be considered as a Halal alternative of porcine gelatin.60 Some other valuable peptides are also reported for its beneficial activity by many researchers confirmed the broad and wide range of available and functional peptides from porcine alternative source.54,55,61,62 Thereby, according to Jridi et al.59 all gelatins in all probability contained peptides which are electron or hydrogen donors that converts the free radical to the more stable product by reacting with them and dismiss the radical chain reaction.59 However, we will suggest after studying the recent research that fish gelatin (advantage of having odorless properties) has the edge over poultry gelatin due to the complication in managing poultry wastes.63 Therefore fish gelatin can be utilized as a substitute antioxidant driver for porcine and bovine-derived gelatin.

Techniques regarding detection of porcine adulteration

In recent times, about 50,000 tons of beef meat has been found adulterated with horse meat in Europe,64 and it cannot be an accident but a fraudulent act to mix the meat of different species such as horse or pork and blend it into the cattle beef, which creates concerns in the mind of ethnical groups (Muslims and Jews).65 As the 1.5 billion Muslims shares around 20% of the world population and for them, the use of porcine-derived food products is strictly prohibited according to the teaching of Islam.65,66 Such is the case with the production of gelatin as well. According to a report, about 80% of gelatin produced from the pigskin in Europe.10 In addition to that, most of the food manufacturers use porcine-derived gelatin rather than its alternatives.63,67 Due to the vast use of porcine gelatin, it is necessary for the Muslims to test the processed food for the detection of porcine-derived gelatin adulteration.68 Because for the Muslim, the tolerance level becomes 0% when it comes to porcine and porcine-derived gelatin contamination in processed food.65 Therefore we tabulated some of the advanced techniques regarding the detection of porcine gelatin in food products, from the previously published research articles (Table 2).

Techniques

Subjected product

References

RT-PCR (primer D-Loop 108)

Capsule shell

69

RT-PCR (using porcine specific primers)

Processed food products

70

Species-specific duplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

Gelatin capsules

71

Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)

Halal beef

65

Surface Plasmon resonance (SPR)

Gelatin

72

Species-specific PCR using mitochondrial DNA

Gelatin

66

Species-specific coupled with whole-genome amplification

Gelatin capsules

73

Conventional and real-time PCR

Edible gelatin

74

Table 2 Various techniques for screening porcine adulterated produces at molecular level

Opportunity for industrial and market boost

The contribution from the waste of livestock, fisheries and poultry industry is important for a country GDP growth.63 The main reason is that animal byproducts have the capability of decreasing the level of protein malnutrition and food insecurity.75 According to the available online data, Muslim countries produce heaves of animal waste and do have the potential of producing a large amount of Halal gelatin (Table 3).76‒79 However, the exported values (Table 3) showing huge gap between the production of gelatin and the other variables (Meat and fisheries). This showcasing the poor management of animal by products in all the major Islamic countries. The reason might be lack of production facility and less knowledge about managing animal waste products. Therefore more attention is needed particularly in the area of managing waste from farm animals, aquatic sources and the poultry industry. As it is contributing in the local market economy, decrease concerns regarding the use of Halal and Haram gelatin and also increase the country economy by reducing the percentage of imported gelatin.

Countries

Exported value of (US Dollar Thousand)

Meat (offal)

Fisheries

Gelatin

Pakistan

239,741

336,380

5,639

Malaysia

49,135

516,249

227

Iran (Islamic Republic)

30,861

168,352

0

Turkey

370,847

744,561

21,531

Indonesia

20,715

2,900,604

113

Israel

1,349

13,685

128

Tunisia

2,129

126,159

374

United Arab Emirates

53,463

123,412

233

Qatar

2,514

1,253

0

Bangladesh

987

No data

1,194

Lebanon

968

672

0

Oman

91,864

162,864

1

Jordan

45,258

745

192

Table 3 Meat, Fish and gelatin production capacity of major Islamic countries

Conclusion

The need for this review is to highlight the issue regarding Halal and Haram gelatin. As the major gelatin producing source in the international market is pigskin but it is always controversial for ethnical groups, such as Muslims and Jews. Therefore we summarized different porcine alternative gelatin sources, which provide better gelling, antioxidant and functional properties than that of porcine-derived gelatin. In addition to that, we tabulated some market data of major Islamic countries, which suggests that all those stated countries can produce a handsome amount of Halal gelatin and can make themselves gelatin sufficient. However, apart from Turkey, all other countries are producing gelatin less than their average requirement. The reasons must be varied such as the lack of waste management practices and industrial technology. Therefore, more work is required in the sector of waste management and adapt the state of art industrial technology to produce Halal gelatin inside the country.

Acknowledgements

None.

Conflict of interest

Author declares that there is none of the conflicts.

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