Extraction and characterization of collagen from elasmobranch byproducts for potential biomaterial use

Manuel J. Seixas, Eva Martins, Rui L. Reis, Tiago H. Silva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


With the worldwide increase of fisheries, fish wastes have had a similar increase, alternatively they can be seen as a source of novel substances for the improvement of society’s wellbeing. Elasmobranchs are a subclass fished in high amounts, with some species being mainly bycatch. They possess an endoskeleton composed mainly by cartilage, from which chondroitin sulfate is currently obtained. Their use as a viable source for extraction of type II collagen has been hypothesized with the envisaging of a biomedical application, namely in biomaterials production. In the present work, raw cartilage from shark (Prionace glauca) and ray (Zeachara chilensis and Bathyraja brachyurops) was obtained from a fish processing company and submitted to acidic and enzymatic extractions, to produce acid-soluble collagen (ASC) and pepsin-soluble collagen (PSC). From all the extractions, P. glauca PSC had the highest yield (3.5%), followed by ray ASC (0.92%), ray PSC (0.50%), and P. glauca ASC (0.15%). All the extracts showed similar properties, with the SDS-PAGE profiles being compatible with the presence of both type I and type II collagens. Moreover, the collagen extracts exhibited the competence to maintain their conformation at human basal temperature, presenting a denaturation temperature higher than 37 C. Hydrogels were produced using P. glauca PSC combined with shark chondroitin sulfate, with the objective of mimicking the human cartilage extracellular matrix. These hydrogels were cohesive and structurally-stable at 37 C, with rheological measurements exhibiting a conformation of an elastic solid when submitted to shear strain with a frequency up to 4 Hz. This work revealed a sustainable strategy for the valorization of fisheries’ by-products, within the concept of a circular economy, consisting of the use of P. glauca, Z. chilensis, and B. brachyurops cartilage for the extraction of collagen, which would be further employed in the development of hydrogels as a proof of concept of its biotechnological potential, ultimately envisaging its use in marine biomaterials to regenerate damaged cartilaginous tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number617
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cartilage
  • Elasmobranch byproducts
  • Hydrogel
  • Marine biomaterials
  • Marine collagen
  • Tissue engineering


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