Gelatin from pollock skins seals holes in lungs and blood vessels. Credit:

Gelatin from pollock skins seals holes in lungs and blood vessels.


Fish Radio likes to spotlight fish parts that go well beyond dinner plates and can add up to more value than fillets.

Pollock, for example, Alaska’s largest fishery which opens Jan. 20, produces millions of pounds of fish sticks, surimi, and roe – but other Pollock parts are being used to seal holes in lung and blood vessels.


Researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have discovered that gelatin from pollock skins makes a sealant that is 12 times stronger than conventional uses. A big plus is the fish gelatin remains liquid at room temperature and can be sprayed directly on an open wound. It has the potential to be used on any organ.  (Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology)

Pollock skins also are an exciting new source for nanofibers that are similar to tissue in human organs and skin.   Bor-Sen Chiou is the lead researcher at the   US Dept. of Agriculture lab in Albany, Calif.

 Hopefully,  if you have a damaged organ you can grow these cells outside the body and be  introduced into the wound and help improve the ability of the organs  to heal itself.

Chiou says studies show that fish gelatins improve cell growth far better than traditional animal gels.   Along with pharmaceuticals, gelatin from pollock skins also has huge potential in the food industry. Food technologist Cindy Bower —

They have substances that can be used in beverages as a thickener, as a clarifier for juices, plus you can roll it out into great films. When you test it against bovine and pig skin films, there is decreased water vapor permeability. These fish films are a better barrier to water. So there is some application for using them to coat foods – to keep moisture in or out. Plus they’re fish, so they satisfy kosher and Halal (Muslim) dietary restrictions.  That opens markets for millions of people worldwide.

From skin to bones, ground up pollock bones are being rototilled into the soil in neighborhoods in Oakland, California to neutralize toxic lead. Nearly every urban US area has a lead problem, far more than can ever be cleaned up.

Now, instead of digging up and disposing of tons of contaminated soil, the calcium phosphate in tons of pollock bone meal from Dutch Harbor is turning the lead into a harmless mineral. The alchemy has been known for nearly 20 years and used most recently at mining sites and military bases.