What is collagen?

Collagen is a group of structural proteins made up of amino-acids. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and helps us stay strong and agile. Collagen adds structure to skin, bones, hair and more. But as we grow older, we produce less of it.

What can collagen be used for?

Collagen is extensively used in cosmetic products as it is hypothesized to have beneficial properties for skin care. Collagen has also been used in surgery, for burn-wounds and even as casings surrounding your salami sausage.

What is marine collagen?

Marine collagen is similar to terrestrial collagen in that it adds structure. The difference is that it is sourced from marine animals.

Marine collagen can be extracted from the non-edible parts of fish and other marine species (e.g. the skin and bones). Marine species are very suitable for collagen production. However, most of the collagen on the market derives from livestock. Vegetarians and certain religious groups are excluded from buying such products.

Why marine collagen?

Marine collagen has gained significant interest as a healthy, environmentally sound and non-meat alternative to bovine and pork derived products. It is linked to digestive, joint, and skin health, and for improved glucose metabolism.

The steadily increasing global demand for collagen and collagen hydrolysates has caused continuous search for new natural collagen sources and upgrading of production methodology. [1]

See list of marine sources used in the BlueCC project.

Does taking collagen supplements really help?

The idea behind taking collagen supplements is not only to add more collagen to the body, but also to boost the body’s own collagen production. But does it really work?

“To document the effects of collagen supplements in humans, long-term scientific studies with a large number of participants are necessary. This has not been done yet, so currently the manufacturers rely on testimonials from individuals”, says Kjersti Lian, a senior scientist at Nofima who is involved in the BlueCC project. [2]

Is collagen extraction sustainable?

Not always. In this project, however, we will develop green processes to facilitate collagen extraction and collagen hydrolysate production from jellyfish, starfish and cleaner fish. Examples of approaches to evaluate are high shear mechanical homogenization, high pressure processing, pulsed electric field, deep eutectic solvents and new commercial enzymes.