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Title:
A PROCESS FOR PRODUCING A COLLAGEN COMPOSITION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/189115
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A process for producing a collagen composition, comprising the steps of: a) providing an untreated animal tissue; b) dehairing the untreated animal tissue by contacting the untreated animal tissue with a composition comprising a coffee material to produce a dehaired animal tissue; c) drying the dehaired animal tissue to produce a dried animal tissue; and d) size reducing the dried animal tissue to produce a collagen composition. A collagen composition produced by the process.

Inventors:
BUCKLEY MICHAEL (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2021/050279
Publication Date:
September 30, 2021
Filing Date:
March 29, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FREEZE DRY IND PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
A23J1/10; A23J3/04; A23L13/20; A23L17/20; A61K8/65; A61K38/39; C07K14/78
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOPGOODGANIM (AU)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A process for producing a collagen composition, comprising the steps of: a) providing an untreated animal tissue; b) dehairing the untreated animal tissue by contacting the untreated animal tissue with a composition comprising a coffee material to produce a dehaired animal tissue; c) drying the dehaired animal tissue to produce a dried animal tissue; and d) size reducing the dried animal tissue to produce a collagen composition.

2. A process for producing a collagen composition according to claim 1, wherein dehairing the untreated animal tissue comprises contacting the untreated animal tissue with a pressurised solution at a temperature of approximately 100 - 145°C and subsequently contacting the untreated animal tissue with the composition comprising the coffee material to produce the dehaired animal tissue.

3. A process for producing a collagen composition according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the composition comprising a coffee material comprises up to 99.9% w/v coffee material.

4. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein contacting the untreated animal tissue with the composition comprising a coffee material comprises at least partially immersing the untreated animal tissue in the composition comprising the coffee material.

5. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein contacting the untreated animal tissue with the composition comprising a coffee material comprises maintaining the composition comprising the coffee material at a temperature of up to 100°C while in contact with the untreated animal tissue for up to 24 hours.

6. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein dehairing the untreated animal tissue comprises contacting the untreated animal tissue with a pressurised solution at a temperature of approximately 100 - 145°C, contacting the animal tissue with the composition comprising a coffee material and maintaining the composition comprising the coffee material at a temperature of up to 100°C for up to 24 hours, and subsequently using a pressurised solution to remove hair and coffee material to produce the dehaired animal tissue.

7. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein, the dehaired animal tissue is dried using hot-air drying procedures such as in a tray dryer, band drier, tube dryer, paddle or tumble dryer, or a fluid bed dryer, microwave dryers, radio frequency driers, infra-red dryers, vacuum dryers, extruders or in freeze dryers, including by accelerated freeze drying and by freeze substitution, using direct solar heating.

8. A process for producing a collagen composition according to claim 7, wherein the dehaired animal tissue is dried using a freeze-drying process.

9. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the dried animal tissue has a moisture content less than or equal to 2% and/or a water activity less than or equal to 0.6.

10. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the dried animal tissue undergoes a size reduction process.

11. A process for producing a collage composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the dried animal tissue undergoes a multiple stage size reduction process.

12. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the animal tissue is an animal skin or hide.

13. A process for producing a collagen composition according to claim 12, wherein the animal skin or hide is the skin or hide of a cow, sheep, horse, fish, pig, chicken, rooster, duck, rabbit, goose, turkey, kangaroo, camel, horse or donkey.

14. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the animal tissue is organically produced.

15. A process for producing a collagen composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the collagen composition is organically produced.

16. A collagen composition produced by the process according to any one of claims 1 to 15.

17. A collagen composition produced by the process according to any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the collagen composition is an organic collagen composition.

18. A collagen composition produced by the process according to any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the collagen composition has a sodium content of less than about 200mg/100g and/or a molecular weight of less than about 3,000 daltons and/or an average particle size of 150pm in diameter.

19. A gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen prepared from a collagen composition produced by the process according to any one of claim 16 to 18.

20. An animal food or foodstuff for human consumption comprising a collagen composition according to any one of claims 16 to 18, or a gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen according to claim 19.

21. A pharmaceutical, nutraceutical or cosmetic composition comprising a collagen composition according to any one of claim 16 to 18, or a gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen according to 19, and a pharmaceutically, nutraceutically or cosmetically acceptable carrier.

22. A manufactured article comprising a collagen composition according to any one of claim 16 to 18, or a gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen according to claim 19.

Description:
A PROCESS FOR PRODUCING A COLLAGEN COMPOSITION

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to a process for producing a collagen composition from an animal tissue. In particular, the present invention relates to a process for producing a collagen composition from an animal tissue which can be certified organic.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Collagen is the most abundant protein in vertebrates and constitutes about 25% of vertebrate total proteins (Ogawa et ai, 2004). To date, some 27 different types of collagen with 42 distinct polypeptide chains have been identified. Type I, II, III, V, XI, XXIV, XXVII collagen are fibril forming collagens, containing triple-helical structures which are able to bundle into fibrils. A characteristic for collagen is the presence of hydroxyproline residues needed for stabilization of the collagen triple helix. Some collagens have a restricted tissue distribution, e.g. collagen types II, IX and XI are found almost exclusively in cartilage and the presence of collagen type IV is limited to basement membranes. Collagen types I, II and III are the ones that are most abundantly present in tissues. Type I collagen occurs widely, primarily in connective tissue such as skin, bone and tendons. Type II collagen occurs practically exclusively in cartilage tissue. Type III collagen is strongly dependent on age. For example, very young skin can contain up to 50%, but in the course of time is reduced to 5-10%. The other collagen types are present in very low amounts only and are mostly organ-specific (Schrieber and Gareis, 2007).

[0003] The collagen molecule is formed by three chains building a triple helix.

The triple helical collagen molecule consists of about 1,000 glycine, 360 proline and 300 hydroxyproline residues. Because of its spatial structure and high molecular weight, native collagen is insoluble in water. In order to be separated from the other constituents of animal tissues using conventional techniques, it is made soluble through an extraction process which includes partial and controlled hydrolysis of the protein chain and then a warm water extraction (Mohammad, 2014). [0004] Hydrolysed collagen is a polypeptide composite made by further hydrolysis of denatured collagen (Zhang et ai, 2005) or gelatin. It is also called collagen hydrolysate, collagen peptides, hydrolysed gelatin or gelatin hydrolysate. The molecular weight of hydrolysed collagen is usually within the range of approximately 500-25000 Da (Schrieber and Gareis, 2007). The hydrolysed collagen will have no bitter taste when dissolved in cold water due to the high glycine content. During the manufacture of hydrolysed collagen, very little bitter peptide is produced compared to the amount formed with other hydrolysed proteins, so that it is more neutral in taste (Schrieber and Gareis, 2007).

[0005] The organoleptic characteristic of hydrolysed collagen makes it a suitable ingredient for use in food, drinks and dietary supplements. Hydrolysed collagen can be easily digested when used in dietary supplements and food, and health benefits are asserted. Ingestion of hydrolysed collagen has been said to decrease joint pain (Moskowitz, 2000) and increases bone mass density after 4-24 weeks (Nomura et ai, 2005; Wu et ai, 2004). Hydrolysed collagen has also been used in foods as a part of a weight management diet, and in nutraceuticals and cosmetics.

[0006] During abattoir processing of cattle, bovine hide is a by-product of the process, comprising approximately 5-10% of the live animal weight (Jayathilakan, Sultana, Radhakrishna, & Bawa, 2012). The hide requires preservation to prevent decomposition before it can be processed further (Heth, 2015). This must be done quickly to prevent bacterial growth, which usually begins approximately 2 hours after slaughter.

[0007] Australia produces around 8 million cattle hides per year and 1 million calf skins. About 4.5 million hides are salted for export and about 3.5 million are processed in Australia to wet blue (a part processed material) each year.

Additionally, Australia produces about 32 million woolskins every year, roughly 12 million sheep skins and 20 million prime lamb skins.

[0008] Wet blue hides are exported for processing to leather. Wet blue processing is the chrome tanning of unsalted (green) hides, preferably at or near their source. This process involves removing unwanted substances (salt, flesh, hair, and grease) from a rawhide (by soaking in a bath of calcium hydroxide (lime) and sodium sulphide to dissolve hair and flesh), trimming it, treating it to impart the desired grain and stretch, and finally soaking it in a chrome bath to prevent decomposition. Processing to wet blue stage generates a good deal of the water pollution associated with leather tanning.

[0009] Short-term preservation methods have been developed to facilitate processing to the wet blue stage. Chemical methods or chilling are used when necessary to preserve hides during transportation and storage.

[0010] Long term preservation of hides is carried out by salting (curing). Salt preserves hides by lowering their water content from about 65% to less than 50%. Brining in raceways or drums, and drum salting with no added water, are now widely used in Australia and are labour saving alternatives to conventional stack salting. Brining is most commonly used for salting hides; about 90 to 95% of salted hides are brine salted.

[0011] All salting methods produce brine effluent. A 25 kg hide produces about 5 litres of excess brine. If the hides are wet even more brine is generated since all of the water in the hide must be saturated with salt. Disposal of this effluent is a major environmental problem; the salt in a cured hide contributes a substantial proportion of the total dissolved solids (TDS) content of tannery effluent and conventional chemical and biological treatment stages are unable to remove it. The removal of salinity requires complicated and expensive process such as reverse osmosis treatment of the effluent.

[0012] Animal hides or skin may be tanned to produce leather, but cured hides have also been used as a source of natural products, typically by extracting collagen, gelatin and/or collagen peptides. As in tanning, the presence of high levels of salt in a cured hide can complicate downstream processing or be problematic in a product derived therefrom, for example, high sodium in pet or human foods.

[0013] The industrial production of collagen peptides generally requires 2 separate operations. In the first step, gelatin is extracted and purified, and in the second step collagen peptides are enzymatically produced, sterilized, and finally dried (Moskowitz, 2000). The extraction of gelatin generally follows an acid pre treatment or pre-treatment with alkali or an enzyme to at least partially hydrolyse the collagen. Acid treatment is especially suitable for less fully cross-linked materials such as pig skin collagen. Alkali treatment is generally considered to be more suitable for complex collagen such as that found in bovine hides. The acid pre treatment of hides for gelatin production requires up to 30 hours of pre-treatment, and alkali treatment requires even longer periods. Therefore, there is a significant time penalty associated with pre-treatment. In addition, the cost of the chemicals is not insignificant, and disposal of large quantities of acid or alkaline material must be done carefully if environmental damage is to be avoided.

[0014] Traditionally acid pre-treatment is with hydrochloric acid. However, there has been a move towards using organic acids, sometimes in conjunction with an enzyme such as pepsin. Alkali pre-treatment generally uses calcium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. The yield of gelatin from bovine hide can vary, but typical percentage yields might be 25-30% for alkali extraction and as high as 30-40% with enzyme extraction (Ahmad et al., 2017; Cole & Roberts, 1996).

[0015] However, while the prior art methods may produce collagen, they often use chemical such as acids and alkalis which may chemically react with, or modify, the animal hide or skin, generating waste materials which need to be properly disposed of and affecting the quality of the animal hide or skin. Further, processing the animal hides or skin in this manner may leave residues of the processing ingredients in the treated animal hide or skin, such as sulphur and sodium, which may limit the potential uses of these animal hides or skin.

[0016] Thus, there would be advantage if it was possible to process animal hides and skins that neither cured, nor chemically treated the animal hides and skins which was environmentally friendly and sustainable. Further, there would be an advantage if it was possible to produce a collagen composition from animal hides and skins that has low sodium content and could be organically certified.

[0017] It will be clearly understood that, if a prior art publication is referred to herein, this reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms part of the common general knowledge in the art in Australia or in any other country. SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0018] The present invention is directed to a process for producing a collagen composition, which may at least partially overcome at least one of the abovementioned disadvantages or provide the consumer public with a useful or commercial choice.

[0019] Accordingly, in one aspect, the invention provides a process for producing a collagen composition, comprising the steps of: a) providing an untreated animal tissue; b) dehairing the untreated animal tissue by contacting the untreated animal tissue with a composition comprising a coffee material to produce a dehaired animal tissue; c) drying the dehaired animal tissue to produce a dried animal tissue; d) size reducing the dried animal tissue to produce a collagen composition.

[0020] The term “animal tissue” may refer to any suitable biological material of animal origin. More specifically, it will be understood that the term “animal tissue” may refer to any suitable biological material of animal origin that contains collagen. Typically, the animal is commercial species that is processed for food. In an embodiment the animal tissue may comprise the hide or the skin of a cow, sheep, horse, fish, pig, chicken, rooster, duck, rabbit, goose, turkey, kangaroo, camel, goat horse or donkey. Preferably, the animal tissue may be organically certified. In this instance, it will be understood that the animal may have been managed, and their tissues produced, which is approved under a relevant organic standard.

[0021] In some embodiments of the invention the untreated animal tissue may undergo a step of removing residual flesh and fats from the animal tissue. However, it will be understood that whether the step is undertaken depends on a number of factors, such as the type and quality of untreated animal tissue being processed, and the end use of the collagen composition being produced by the process. The residual flesh and fats may be removed at any suitable step of the process. For instance, the residual flesh and fats may be removed before the untreated animal tissue is dehaired, before the untreated animal tissue is dried, before the dried animal tissue undergoes a size reduction process, or any suitable combination thereof. The residual flesh and fats may be removed mechanically, for example, by scraping or tumble abrasion, by physically trimming the residual flesh and fats from the animal tissue, by soaking the animal tissue in hot water, by spraying the animal tissue with a pressurised solution, or any suitable combination thereof. Preferably, however, residual flesh and fats may be removed without any chemical treatment being undertaken to remove soluble materials.

[0022] The process for producing a collagen composition comprises the step of dehairing the untreated animal tissue. It will be understood that the term “dehairing” is intended to refer to the removal or otherwise elimination of hair associated with the animal tissue. However, it will be understood that the degree of dehairing may vary depending on the type and concentration of the dehairing compounds, the type and size of the animal tissue to be dehaired and the length of time the dehairing compound contacts the animal tissue. In this instance, it will be understood that use of the term “dehairing” may or may not refer to the complete removal or otherwise elimination of hair associated with the animal tissue.

[0023] The untreated animal tissue may be dehaired using any suitable dehairing process and/or dehairing composition. Preferably, the untreated animal tissue may be dehaired using a dehairing process and/or dehairing compositions which does not chemically react with, or modify, the animal tissue. Preferably, the untreated animal tissue may be dehaired using a dehairing process and/or dehairing composition which is approved under a relevant organic standard. In particular, it will be understood that the method of dehairing may avoid use of solutions comprising chemical depilatory agents such as sodium sulphide or sodium bisulphide, hydrogen peroxide, calcium hydroxide or lime, dimethylamine or combinations thereof which may chemically react with, or modify, the animal tissue.

[0024] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the untreated animal tissue may be dehaired by contacting the untreated animal tissue with a composition comprising a coffee material to produce a dehaired animal tissue. [0025] Preferably, the untreated animal tissue may be dehaired by contacting the untreated animal tissue with a pressurised solution at a temperature of approximately 100 - 145°C and subsequently contacting the untreated animal tissue with the composition comprising the coffee material to produce the dehaired animal tissue. Any suitable pressurised solution may be used, preferably however, the pressurised solution may be free of chemicals, and/or comprises compositions which are approved under a relevant organic standard. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the pressurised solution may be high pressure potable water. In use, it is envisaged that the pressurised solution may be used to remove contaminants to clean the animal tissue before dehairing. Preferably, the pressurised solution may be set to a temperature of approximately 100 - 145 °C, however it will be understood that the actual temperature of the pressurised solution at the outlet end of a hose may vary.

[0026] Preferably, the untreated animal tissue may be dehaired by contacting the untreated animal tissue with a composition comprising a coffee material. The untreated animal tissue may be contacted by the composition comprising a coffee material by any suitable means. For instance, the untreated animal tissue may be sprayed with the composition, may be at least partially immersed in the composition, may be coated with the composition, or any suitable combination thereof.

Preferably, the untreated animal tissue may be at least partially immersed in the composition comprising a coffee material. In this way, it is envisaged that at least a portion of the untreated animal tissue may be immersed in the composition comprising a coffee material at any time.

[0027] The composition comprising a coffee material may be of any suitable type. For instance, the composition may be a paste, a slurry, a suspension of solids in liquid, a solution, or the like. In use, it is envisaged that the coffee material may be suspended in a liquid. Preferably, the coffee material may be suspended in a potable water.

[0028] Any suitable coffee material may be used. For instance, the coffee material may comprise raw or unroasted coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, ground coffee beans, tamped or spent coffee grinds, or any suitable combination thereof. In some embodiments of the invention, the coffee material may be further processed before preparing the composition comprising the coffee material. For instance, the coffee material may be washed, may be dewatered, may be frozen, may be defrosted, may be dried, may be reconstituted, may be size reduced, or any suitable combination thereof. In an embodiment of the invention, the coffee material may be further processed to concentrate the coffee material before preparing the composition comprising the coffee material.

[0029] Preferably, the coffee material may comprise an organically sourced and processed coffee material. Preferably, the coffee material may be certified organic. In this instance, it will be understood that the coffee material may have been produced and processed under conditions which are approved under a relevant organic standard. Preferably, the coffee material may comprise organically sourced and processed tamped or spent coffee grinds.

[0030] The composition comprising a coffee material may comprise any suitable amount of coffee material. In an embodiment of the invention, the composition comprises up to 99.9% w/v coffee material, preferably the composition comprises up to 50% w/v material, preferably the composition comprises up to 45% w/v coffee material, preferably the composition comprises up to 40% w/v coffee material, preferably the composition comprises up to 35% w/v coffee material, preferably the composition comprises up to 30% w/v, preferably the composition comprises up to 25% w/v coffee material, preferably the composition comprises up to 20% w/v coffee material, preferably the composition comprises up to 15% w/v coffee material, preferably the composition comprises up to 10% w/v coffee material. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the composition comprising a coffee material may comprise 0.5 - 10% w/v coffee material. Preferably, the composition comprising the coffee material comprises approximately 1.0 - 10% w/v coffee material, preferably approximately 1.0 - 7.5% w/v coffee material, preferably approximately 2.0 - 5.0% w/v coffee material. However, it will be understood that the concentration of the coffee material may vary depending on a number of factors such as the type and characteristics of the coffee material, the water content of the coffee material, the application method of the composition, and the type of animal tissue being treated.

[0031] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, contacting the untreated animal tissue with the composition comprising the coffee material comprises maintaining the composition comprising the coffee material at a temperature of up to 100°C while in contact with the untreated animal tissue for up to 24 hours.

[0032] Preferably, the composition comprising the coffee material may be maintained at a temperature of up to 90°C while in contact with the untreated animal tissue, at a temperature of up to 80°C, at a temperature of up to 70°C, at a temperature of up to 60°C. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, contacting the untreated animal tissue with the composition comprising a coffee material comprises maintaining the composition comprising the coffee material at a temperature of approximately 40 - 60°C while in contact with the untreated animal tissue for up to 24 hours, preferably approximately 45 - 55°C, preferably approximately 50°C. It will be understood that the temperature does not need to be maintained at exactly 40 - 60°C, and that a person skilled in the art will understand that the temperature may vary depending in part on how the value is measured or determined and the nature of the system being monitored. Further, it will be understood that the actual temperature of the composition comprising the coffee material may vary depending on a number of factors, such as the contact time with the untreated animal tissue, the method of application of the composition comprising the coffee material, the concentration and type of coffee material present in the composition and the type of animal tissue being treated.

[0033] The temperature of the composition comprising the coffee material in contact with the untreated animal tissue may be maintained by any suitable means known in the art. For instance, a vessel comprising the untreated animal tissue and the composition comprising the coffee material may be provided with a heat jacket, a heating and/or cooling system, or any suitable combination thereof. For instance, the untreated animal tissue may be at least partially defrosted and/or warmed before contacting the untreated animal tissue with the composition comprising the coffee material. For instance, the composition comprising the coffee material may be at temperature above approximately 40 - 60°C before being brought into contact with the untreated animal tissue such that following heat transfer between the composition and the animal tissue, the temperature of the composition comprising the coffee material may be approximately 40 - 60°C. [0034] Preferably, the composition comprising a coffee material may be maintained in contact with the untreated animal tissue for up to 24 hours, up to 12 hours, up to 8 hours, up to 6 hours, up to 4 hours. The untreated animal tissue may be contacted by the composition comprising the coffee material for a period of time of approximately 10 minutes to 4 hours, preferably approximately 30 minutes to 3 hours, preferably approximately 45 minutes to 2 hours, preferably approximately 1 hour. However, it will be understood that the actual time that the untreated animal tissue may be contacted by the composition comprising the coffee material may vary depending on a number of factors, such as the temperature and method of application of the composition comprising the coffee material, the concentration and type of coffee material present in the composition and the type of animal tissue being treated.

[0035] In use, it is envisaged that the dehaired animal tissue may be contacted with a pressurised solution at a temperature of approximately 100 - 145°C following the dehairing step. Any suitable pressurised solution may be used, preferably however, the pressurised solution may be free of chemicals, and/or comprises compositions which are approved under a relevant organic standard. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the pressurised solution may be high pressure potable water. In use, it is envisaged that the pressurised solution may be used to clean the animal tissue and remove hair following dehairing step. Preferably, the pressurised solution may be set to a temperature of approximately 100 - 145 °C, however it will be understood that the actual temperature of the pressurised solution at the outlet end of a hose may vary.

[0036] The process for producing a collagen composition comprises the step of drying the dehaired animal tissue to produce a dried animal tissue. Any suitable method may be used to dry the dehaired animal tissue. Preferably, however, the drying temperature and exposure time should be minimised to prevent darkening and decreased digestibility of the dehaired animal tissue. In use, it is envisaged that the freeze-drying temperature cycle may have a temperature range of about -50 - 50°C. In this instance, it will be understood that the freeze-drying temperature cycle comprises the optimal temperature range for the process, whereby the temperature at any point of the cycle may not be lower than -50°C or higher than 50°C. [0037] For instance, drying may be carried out by hot-air drying procedures such as in a tray dryer or band drier, or drum drier, but other hot-air dryers such as tube dryers, paddle or tumble dryers or fluid bed dryers may be employed. Microwave dryers, radio frequency driers, or infra-red dryers may also be used. Drying can also be carried out in vacuum dryers, extruders or in freeze dryers, including for instance by accelerated freeze drying and by freeze substitution. Drying may also be carried out using direct solar heating.

[0038] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the dehaired animal tissue may be freeze dried.

[0039] In an embodiment the dehaired animal tissue is dried to a point where it has a moisture content less than or equal to 2% and/or a water activity less than or equal to 0.6.

[0040] The process for producing a collagen composition comprises the step of size reducing the dried animal tissue to produce a collagen composition. Any suitable size reducing process may be used. For instance, the dried animal tissue may be crushed, ground, cut, milled, shredded, disintegrated, torn or the like, or any combination thereof. The dried animal tissue may be subjected to one or more size reduction processes. Any such size reduction processes may be completed in a single or multiple pass operation, which may include one, two, three, four, or any number of size reduction steps, to achieve a desired average particle size.

Preferably, the process comprises a multiple pass operation, wherein the dried animal tissue may be subject to a first size reduction step and the size reduced particles subjected to at least one further size reduction step. Preferably, however, the dried animal tissue may be size reduced until a collagen composition with certain size parameters (such as a uniform size or a material with an average particle size or threshold particle size) is produced.

[0041] In an embodiment of the invention, the dried animal tissue may be size reduced to obtain an average particle size of less 5mm, preferably less than 2.5mm, preferably less than 1mm, preferably less than 500pm, preferably less than 250pm, preferably less than 150pm. Preferably at least 50% of the collagen composition comprises particles having an average particle size of less than about 150pm, preferably at least 55%, preferably at least 60%, preferably at least 75%, preferably at least 70%, preferably at least 75%, preferably at least 80%, preferably at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, preferably at least 95%. However, it will be understood that the characteristics of the collagen composition may vary depending on a number of factors such as the type of dried animal tissue being processed, the end use of the collagen composition, and the type of size reduction apparatus and number of size reduction steps.

[0042] In accordance with the present invention, the dried animal tissue may be size reduced, for example by being granulated, minced, cut, chopped, or ground through a perforated plate for example, a 6mm perforated plate to form a coarsely ground material. Conveniently, the dried animal tissue may be fed continuously into a grinder to produce a coarsely ground material. Alternately, the dried animal tissue may be fed as a batch process into a grinder to produce the coarsely ground material. Preferably, the dried animal tissue may be size reduced to an average particle size of about 2 - 20mm in diameter before undergoing a finer size reduction process. The coarsely ground dried animal tissue may undergo a further size reduction step. Preferably, the coarsely ground dried animal tissue may undergo a milling step. A wide variety of conventional milling means may be employed. The use of a hammer mill or a pin mill is typical, but pinned disc mills, cross beater mills, roller mill, jet mills and turbo mills may also be used. Preferably, the coarsely ground dried animal tissue may be size reduced to an average particle size of about 0.1 - 2.0mm in diameter.

[0043] Typically, the product of milling is a fine powder. Any suitable process may be employed to collect and package the product. For example, cyclones can be used to collect the product from the milling process and direct it into storage containers or into packages for distribution and/or sale. In use, it is envisaged that the collagen composition may undergo one or more separation steps after the size reduction process. For instance, the collagen composition may undergo a separation process to remove hair from the collagen composition, may undergo a sieving process to grade the collagen composition according to certain size parameters, or any suitable combination thereof. [0044] The collagen composition produced by the process may be organically produced. In this instance, it will be understood that the processing/preparation and manufacturing techniques of the process are organic production methods without adulteration. Preferably, the collagen composition produced by the process may be an organic collagen composition. In this instance it will be understood that the input materials must be organic materials which are processed/prepared and manufactured using organic production methods without adulteration.

[0045] The collagen composition produced in the process may have a sodium content of less than 200 mg/100 g. In an embodiment the collagen composition produced in the process may have a sodium content of 160mg/100g to 200mg/100g. In an embodiment the collagen composition produced in the process may have a sodium content of 160 mg/100 g to 180 mg/100 g. In an embodiment the collagen composition produced in the process may have a sodium content of about 160mg/100g.

[0046] The collagen composition produced in the process may comprise at short chain peptides. For instance, the collagen composition may comprise peptides having a molecular weight of less than about 25,000 daltons, preferably less than about 20,000 daltons, preferably less than about 15,000 daltons, preferably less than about 10,000 daltons, preferably less than about 8,000 daltons, preferably less than about 6,000 daltons, preferably less than about 4,000 daltons, preferably less than 2,000 daltons.

[0047] During processing of collagen into other products, partial or full hydrolysis may occur. This involves de-structuring of the native collagen triple helix structure into individual chains (gelatin) and/or cleavage of the protein chains into shorter peptide fragments (collagen hydrolysates or peptides). Gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolysed form of collagen, wherein the hydrolysis reduces protein fibrils into smaller peptides; depending on the physical and chemical methods of denaturation, the molecular weight of the peptides falls within a broad range. When collagen is heated with water, gelatin is formed. The reaction occurs more rapidly at higher temperatures, but at these temperatures more of the gelatin is hydrolysed further to produce hydrolysed collagen. [0048] As used herein, the term “hydrolysed collagen” refers to collagen which has undergone hydrolysis to reduce protein fibrils into smaller peptides. A hydrolysed collagen produced in the present invention may take the form of the product known as gelatin (which is sometimes referred to as “gelatine”) or resemble products referred to as hydrolysed collagen, collagen hydrolysate, gelatine hydrolysate, hydrolysed gelatine, and collagen peptides. The extent of hydrolysis depends on the nature of the treatment.

[0049] In an embodiment, the product of the process is further refined. Additional refining and recovering treatments that may be performed where necessary include extraction, filtration, clarification, evaporation, sterilization, drying, rutting, grinding, and sifting to remove the water from the product.

[0050] In an embodiment, the product of the process is freeze dried and ground to obtain the final product.

[0051] The collagen composition produced in the process and/or a gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen derived therefrom may be useful in animal foods and as a foodstuff for humans. For example, the collagen composition may be added to protein products. The protein product or products can comprise raw or cooked meat or meat products, offal, fish and fish products, and other protein products for food for human use, pet food, animal feed or fish food use. The collagen composition and/or a gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen derived therefrom may be useful for restructuring poorly textured meats (particularly comminuted meats), fish products, and other protein products so as to enhance their textural properties, water retention, fat retention, eating quality, juiciness, shape and size retention, or consumer appeal or to increase their meat content, fish content or protein content, or to make more cost effective products. The enhanced appeal need not be only to the human consumer, but any also have greater appeal to domestic pets when used in pet foods and to farm animals and fish when used in animal feeds and in fish foods. The collagen composition and/or a gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen derived therefrom may also be used in cosmetic products and medical products, as well as in surgical applications, paper making and the like. [0052] The collagen composition prepared by the process of the invention and/or a gelatin or a hydrolysed collagen derived therefrom may have medical uses including cardiac applications, cosmetic surgery, bone grafts, tissue regeneration, reconstructive surgical uses and wound care. Hydrolysed collagen can enhance bone, joint and skin health when used as a human health supplement.

[0053] Hydrolysed collagen is also found in cosmetic products such as topical creams, acting as a product texture conditioner and moisturiser. In the pet industry, hydrolysed collagen is used as a supplement for hair, bones, nail and teeth. Hydrolysed collagen may also have food & beverage applications, such as in jelly and gummy products.

[0054] A pharmaceutical, nutraceutical or cosmetic composition will include a pharmaceutically, nutraceutically or cosmetically acceptable carrier. This will generally be selected with due regard to the intended route of administration and standard practice. Such carriers will generally be chemically inert to the active compounds and may have no detrimental side effects or toxicity under the conditions of use. Suitable pharmaceutical formulations may be found in, for example, Remington The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, 19th ed., Mack Printing Company, Easton, Pennsylvania (1995). Otherwise, the preparation of suitable formulations may be achieved routinely by the skilled person using routine techniques and/or in accordance with standard and/or accepted practice.

[0055] The amount of collagen and/or hydrolysed collagen in any pharmaceutical formulation used in accordance with the present invention will depend on various factors, such as the severity of the condition to be treated and the particular patient to be treated. In any event, the amount of collagen and/or hydrolysed collagen in the formulation may be determined routinely by the skilled person.

[0056] The present invention provides numerous advantages over the prior art. Firstly, the present invention provides a process to treat animal hides and skins which eliminates chemical use and is environmentally friendly and sustainable. This results in a collagen composition produced by the process which has low sodium content. In addition, the present invention provides a process to treat animal hides and skins which can produce a collagen composition which could be organically certified. Furthermore, the collagen composition produced by the process comprises high protein availability and digestibility.

[0057] Any of the features described herein can be combined in any combination with any one or more of the other features described herein within the scope of the invention.

[0058] The reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgement or any form of suggestion that the prior art forms part of the common general knowledge.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0059] Preferred features, embodiments and variations of the invention may be discerned from the following Detailed Description which provides sufficient information for those skilled in the art to perform the invention. The Detailed Description is not to be regarded as limiting the scope of the preceding Summary of the Invention in any way.

[0060] Example 1 Freeze drying of animal hides after abattoir processing

[0061] A bovine animal hide taken from an animal during abattoir processing was stored and chilled within 2 hours of slaughter of the animal. Four chilled bovine animal hides were washed with high pressure hot potable water at a temperature of about 120°C to remove visual debris before placing into heated drums.

Approximately 100L of a composition comprising approximately 2%w/v spent coffee grinds was added to the heated drum and the thermostat set to a temperature of about 50°C. The bovine animal hides were soaked in the composition for about 1 hour before being removed from the heated drum. The bovine animal hides were then washed with high pressure hot potable water to remove hair and coffee grinds.

[0062] The dehaired bovine animal hides were graded and trimmed and frozen. Frozen dehaired bovine animal hides were then size reduced into slices of no more than 25mm thickness and placed onto trays in preparation for freeze drying. Once frozen, it was dried for 2 - 3 days or until the dried animal tissue achieved a moisture content of less than or equal to 2% and/or a water activity less than or equal to 0.6. Upon removal from the dryers, a near 30% yield was achieved, resulting in 300kgs of freeze-dried hide. The sliced freeze-dried hide was milled using a dual stage hammer mill. The product was a light brown/off white powder with a particle size less than or equal 2 mm.

[0063] The results of chemical and microbiological testing of the collagen composition of the present invention are shown in Table 1.

Table 1

[0064] Nutritional data for the collagen composition of the present invention is given in Table 2

Table 2

[0065] A comparison of the collagen composition of the present invention to the amino acid profile of a commercial collagen peptide product marketed by Vital Foods is shown in Table 3.

Table 3

[0066] In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific to structural or methodical features. The term “comprises” and its variations, such as “comprising” and “comprised of’ is used throughout in an inclusive sense and not to the exclusion of any additional features.

[0067] Reference throughout this specification to ‘one embodiment’ or ‘an embodiment’ means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the appearance of the phrases ‘in one embodiment’ or ‘in an embodiment’ in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more combinations.

[0068] In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific to structural or methodical features. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to specific features shown or described since the means herein described comprises preferred forms of putting the invention into effect.

[0069] The invention is, therefore, claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the proper scope of the appended claims appropriately interpreted by those skilled in the art. REFERENCES

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