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P.PSH.1394 - Viability and Feasibility of Ovine Collagen - Phase 2

The global collagen market size is expected to reach US $16.7 billion by 2028, expanding at a revenue based CAGR of 9.0% [2]. Bovine, porcine, and marine by-products are the four main sources currently used in the manufacture of collagen.

Project start date: 18 May 2022
Project end date: 15 September 2023
Publication date: 18 October 2023
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (1.5 MB)


Consumer interest in collagen-based products is growing in various applications, including food and beverage, nutraceutical supplements, cosmetics, and medical products. Consumers are particularly focusing on health and performance nutrition, with the nutraceutical collagen market estimated to account for 40% of collagen product sales in 2025 [1]. Collagen’s characteristics as a bioavailable bonding material has resulted in growth in both cosmetic and medical applications. Its most prevalent use among cosmetic consumers is in skincare products, with this popularity due to its ‘revitalising’ and ‘renewing’ properties.

Collagen products obtained from Australian sheep have unique market advantages, i) isolated disease-free herd in Australia, (only prion-free ovine in the world) ii) safe, fully traceable from the “farm to the consumer” and iii) culturally acceptable worldwide (acceptable to Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist populations as opposed to porcine and bovine collagen).


Scale up of each module of the Phase 1 process to 50 - 100 kg hide batch sizes using a combination of existing pilot plant equipment and new or rented fit for purpose mid-scale equipment.

Identified scale up challenges with respect to equipment and processing constraints and accordingly made suitable adjustments to the process to ensure it can be scaled up to large volume production using established industrial equipment.

Conducted repeatable trials to ensure process and product quality is consistent and reproducible and collected process modelling data for design of commercial scale processing line.

Generated up to 5kg sample sizes of ovine collagen hydrolysate and wool protein concentrate and undertook a detailed biochemical analysis using an external laboratory to confirm molecular weight and specifications, consistency of process and product quality.

Provided collagen peptide samples to New Me Pty Ltd for preliminary consumer assessment, preliminary COGs estimates and for assessment of consumer desirability using Watch me Think.

Produce a Final report summarising key findings and approach.

Key findings

The outcome of this project has been the successful development of a 3-step pilot scale process for processing sheep pelts. The first technology enables sheep skins to be easily processed using established industrial equipment, solving a significant industrial feasibility issue in high volume processing of raw sheep skins. The second technology generates high and consistent quality food and nutraceutical grade skin collagen hydrolysate from the processed ovine pelts and separates out intact and clean wool. The third technology enables the separated-out wool to be converted into a high value wool keratin protein concentrate.

Furthermore, satisfactory application trial results have validated the high process and product quality of the OTH technologies.

Benefits to industry

Currently the only way Australia’s sheep industry can generate more revenue and profitability is either to cut costs or grow and processing more sheep or taking advantage of the occasional positive market conditions. OTH’s technology has the unique ability to consistently produce high quality food ingredients from low value sheep skins generating a new income stream. The technology also has the potential to deliver sustained and significantly increased profits and new products streams to Australian sheep producers without needing to process more sheep & deliver increased profits back to Australia’s sheep producers.

MLA action

Final report to be published on the MLA website and shared with relevany industry bodies.

Future research

Continued research into identifying both target markets and scaling of the technology would be considered.

More information

Project manager: John Marten
Contact email: