Can you make gelatin from burned bones?
February 8, 2019 2:53 PM   Subscribe

I understand that "fresh" ones might be better or at least yield more, but would any usable amount of material be available after bones are burned, baked, incinerated, or whatever?

Let's assume hide, hooves, etc. are not available for whatever reason.

If it can be done, would it be good enough quality to make photographic plates?

This question is for writing research , not for weird kitchen work or anything nefarious.
posted by Mister Moofoo to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are different degrees of done-ness in your question. If it’s been entirely combusted, and just ash remains, probably not. Baked, though—you can get plenty of gelatin out of a roasted bone. For culinary purposes at least.

Not sure what quality you need to make photographic plates but I have definitely made translucent gels from cooked bones.
posted by Maecenas at 3:16 PM on February 8

Yes, you can denature collagen matrices through heating.

Collagen will also degrade over time, on excessive dehydration, so old dug-up bones would similarly be poor source of high quality collagen.
posted by porpoise at 3:17 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Likely some, though it depends on the temperature you're bones reach.

Gelatin begins to form from collagen in the 40C-60C range (~105F-140F), but degrades above about 200C/400F. Source.

Bone char, pyrolitic breakdown of bone, typically starts around 400C/750F. Gelatin would be long destroyed at that temperature. If you're asking about simply roasted bone, as for broth, if it stays below 200C/400F, likely some gelatin could be extracted from the attached collagen and connective tissues.
posted by bonehead at 3:23 PM on February 8 [8 favorites]

I know we are supposed to just answer the question but I can't not point out how beautifully eponysterical the comment above this one is.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:10 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]

posted by sanka at 6:23 PM on February 8

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