Collagen: a sustainable byproduct from the poultry industry


    In recent years, Colombian poultry farming has significantly increased its investment in research, from approximately $40 million to around $400 million. This surge in funding has led to the development of innovative products derived from poultry byproducts, including collagen. Let’s explore how collagen is obtained and its potential impact on sustainability.

    The circular economy approach

    The Colombian poultry sector aims to embrace the circular economy concept, which focuses on adding value to waste materials. By doing so, they transform what were once considered secondary products into high-value resources. Here are some notable byproducts and biotechnologies being developed within the Colombian poultry industry:

    Biomass from organic poultry products

    Organic waste generated by the poultry industry can be harnessed to create biomass. Biomass is a renewable energy source that has a neutral carbon footprint, emitting no greenhouse gases. The utilization of poultry waste, such as chicken litter and manure, contributes to sustainable energy production. Colombian poultry farmers actively participate in the Clúster de Energía Inteligente (Cluster of Smart Energy) in the Valle del Cauca region, focusing on energy efficiency and biomass utilization.

    Cutting-edge fertilizers

    The collaboration between the poultry sector and the Interdisciplinary Group of Molecular Studies at the University of Antioquia has resulted in the production of next-generation fertilizers. These fertilizers are derived from gallinaza (chicken litter) and pollinaza (turkey litter). Through composting processes (both dynamic and static), these organic waste materials are transformed into nutrient-rich fertilizers. By recycling poultry waste, farmers reduce the need for imported fertilizers and enhance soil health.

    Collagen and hyaluronic acid

    Researchers are also exploring value-added products from unconventional sources. For instance, eggshell membranes contain organic fractions that can be used to produce collagen and hyaluronic acid. Collaborating with the University of Antioquia, the Colombian poultry industry has developed technologies to extract these valuable compounds.

    Thanks to organic microminerals such as zinc, copper and manganese, they play specific roles in the synthesis of basic and essential structures for the development of tissues, in particular skin, feathers, cartilage and tendons by participating in the development of collagen.

    Hyaluronic acid is used to correct eye bursting in accidents, to correct severe arthritis problems, used after laser eye surgery and also in cosmetics.


    Colombian poultry farmers are at the forefront of turning waste into wealth. By focusing on circular economy principles, they not only enhance their own competitiveness but also contribute to environmental stewardship. Collagen, along with other innovative products, exemplifies how sustainable practices can benefit both the industry and the planet.