Gelatinized High Added-Water Pork Skin Connective Tissue Protein Gels as Potential Water Binders

University of Nebraska 1996 Swine Day Report. Heating pork skin connective tissue (PCT) obtained from pork carcasses may enhance its water binding ability due to partial conversion of connective tissue collagen to gelatin. Upon cooling, the protein gel partially reforms, and may entrap added water. Incorporation of this recovered protein as a high added-water gel in reduced-fat products may improve product juiciness and palatability. The objectives of this study were to determine temperature and time variables that enhance conversion of connective tissue collagen to gelatin and determine basic properties of high added-water pork skin connective tissue gels. Heating PCT at 158oF for 30 minutes released more gel-water indicating conversion of connective tissue to gelatin. Added water (AW) levels of 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600% were used to determine the water binding ability of heated PCT. Soluble collagen of these gels ranged from 100 to 25 mg/g, allowing the production of stable protein gels with as much as 600% AW. Increasing added water levels softened gel texture and lightened gel color. The potential exists to incorporate high added-water PCT gels into reduced-fat pork products to enhance product attributes.