Hong Kong: Gelatin derived from human beings could now spice up desserts and candies, replacing those of animal origin.
Derived from the bones and skin of cows and pigs, gelatin is neither safe nor healthy as it can trigger infections, besides provoking a negative immune response in some people.
Jin Chun Chen, associate professor in microbiology, Tsinghua University, Hong Kong, and colleagues are seeking alternatives for potential use in capsules and other medicinal applications.
Animal-based gelatin has other drawbacks, with variability from batch to batch, for instance, creating difficulties for manufacturers, the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reports.
Accordingly, scientists developed and demonstrated a method where human gelatin genes are inserted into a strain of yeast which can produce gelatin with controllable features, according to a Tsinghua statement.
The researchers are still testing the human-yeast gelatin to see how well it compares to other gelatins in terms of its viscosity and other attributes.
Chen and colleagues suggest that their method could be scaled up to produce large amounts of gelatin for commercial use.