Collagen is a structural protein that is related to the integrity of many tissues, such as cartilage and those that form the skin.
→ Characteristics of collagen
Collagen is a protein formed by chains of the amino acids glycine, proline, lysine, hydroxylysine, hydroxyproline and alanine, which are arranged in parallel. About 29 different types of collagen are known, which differ in amino acid composition, arrangements, diameter and tissue location.
With a simple molecular structure, collagen is insoluble in water due to the large amount of hydrophobic amino acids. They also stand out for forming insoluble fibers with great elastic strength and hydration capacity.
→ Collagen formation
Different types of collagen are produced at the cellular level as pro-collagen and are subsequently secreted. Collagenase enzymes cleave the terminal fragments of these molecules. Thus, without the terminal fragments, the procollagen molecules become collagen. This, in turn, undergoes polymerization and gives rise to collagen fibrils, which aggregate to form the famous collagen fibers.
Collagen is mainly present in connective tissues , where it is found in large amounts. In addition to these tissues, this structural protein is found in muscles and the stratum corneum of the eyes.
→ Obtaining collagen
Collagen extraction is a process of great interest to the industry, since this protein has been used to replace synthetic agents. It can be taken from several species of animals, however, in our country, it is obtained mainly from by-products of the meat industry, such as cartilage, ligaments and internal layers of bovine leather. From native collagen, it is possible to obtain collagen fiber, hydrolyzed collagen and partially hydrolyzed collagen ( gelatin ).
→ Benefits of using collagen
See the main benefits of collagen, an important source of nutritious fiber and animal protein.
- Prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and as a partial meat substitute;
- Treatments to improve skin elasticity and firmness, in addition to preventing diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension and gastric ulcer;
- It can be used as a biomaterial, since it occurs in large quantities in animals;
- It has great strength and elasticity;
- It can serve as a drug release matrix and can be worked on in several ways.