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Science and Environment

Gelatin sourced from tilapia skin eyed for halal market

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Technology developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to produce gelatin from the skin of tilapia may be key to breaking into the billion-dollar global cosmetics and pharmaceutical halal market.

DOST Region 12 director Haja Shayma Zenaida Laidan said that research and development (R&D) on the production of gelatin from the skin or scales of tilapia has been completed and they are now just looking for a private sector partner to commercialize the technology.

“I hope we can find a partner who has the financial capability to put up the processing plant,” Laidan told The STAR on the sidelines of the “BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area) International Halal Congress: An Academe Perspective” held at the Apo View Hotel in Davao City last week.

Laidan said that putting up the plant will entail a substantial investment.

She however stressed that the breakthrough technology has huge potential since it offers a halal gelatin option for the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, particularly if one wanted to tap the global market.

DOST Region 12 spent less than P500,000 for R&D on the production of gelatin from tilapia skin.

Laidan said that 98 to 99 percent of the gelatin being used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry are from “haram” or forbidden sources – mainly pigskin.

Gelatin is a material used in the processing and manufacture of ice cream, marshmallow, yoghurt, soft candy, jelly and shells of capsule, tablets, suppositories, shampoo, conditioner, lipstick and fingernail formulas.

The DOST official said that the tilapia used in the R&D for gelatin production was taken from Lake Lanao.

“It is tilapia Mozambique from Lake Lanao, which is the second largest lake in the Philippines. It’s a freshwater lake,” Laidan said.

She said there was adequate supply of tilapia in the lake to support the large-scale production of gelatin.

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