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P.PSH.1347 - Ovine Collagen Opportunities

Due to its high tolerability and exclusivity, ovine collagen is seen as a higher quality collagen product. As such, it is suitable for cosmetic and pharmaceutical purposes.

Project start date: 30 November 2021
Project end date: 29 May 2023
Publication date: 13 December 2023
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Lamb
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (0.7 MB)


Freeze Dry Industries (FDI) have recently completed a research proposal for MDC on Bovine Hide – Extracting Food Grade Collagen from Beef Hides (P.PSH.1274). FDI have confirmed that they can create a human-grade collagen protein powder from waste hides. This process is clean and green, utilising Australian technology, and has resulted in an ACO certification for the organic collagen.

The purpose of this research project was to determine the suitability of the organic extraction process on sheep skin in order to create ovine collagen.


  • Mapping of current practice for sheep hides in the Australian sheep meat sector and the opportunity presented by ovine collagen to the red meat industry.
  • Develop proof of concept ovine collagen and trial batches to validate technical feasibility.
  • Evaluate the value proposition for freeze dried ovine collagen based on industry, economic and market trends.

Key findings

The potential opportunity for an ovine collagen is significant due to current market trends. In particular within skin care and pharmaceuticals. FDI’s organic extraction process is suitable for sheep skin and produces a high quality hydrolysed ovine collagen.

Benefits to industry

The financial benefit to the red meat industry is clear, as FDI can use lower quality dorper and other sheep skins which currently often have no other use and are disposed of. Utilising these hides removes the costs associated with dumping them and decreases the amount of waste produced.

MLA action

Publish the final report on the MLA website.

Future research

While extracting collagen from the sheep skin, there are opportunities to create further products.

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are mucopolysaccharides, and are present in every mammalian tissue. Types of GAGs include hyaluronic acid, dermatan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, heparin sulfate and keratin sulfate. There are many potential uses for GAGs including skin care, anticoagulants and tissue modelling (Casale & Crane, 2022).

Hyaluronic acid is widely used commercially, including for dermal fillers, skin care, as a treatment for osteoarthritis and dry eye. The global market for hyaluronic acid was estimated to be worth US$ 9.4Bn in 2022 and is expected to grow to US$ 16.8Bn in 2030 (Grand View Research, 2022).

More information

Project manager: John Marten
Contact email: