From Fish to Skin

Turning fish side-streams into cosmetics

EcoeFISHent project is developing a cosmetic cream from fish side-streams. The EcoeFISHent cream is an emulsion containing fish extracts, such as hydrolyzed collagen and Omega-3 fatty acids, compounds well known for their beneficial effects on skin.

Extracting Valuable Components from fish-side streams​

Seafood processing generates substantial amounts of side-streams, which can range from 20% to 70% of the total product. Instead of considering these side-streams as waste, they can be transformed into valuable resources through innovative approaches and technologies.

In the project fishing and fish industry side-streams undergo patented dehydration industrial process which helps in preserving the perishable materials and facilitating their logistics and transport.


The dehydrated product obtained from fish side-streams is rich in various bioactive compounds, including proteins, free amino acids, lipids and minerals. These bioactives are valuable substances that can be extracted and utilized in the production of nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and other target applications.

In the case of the EcoeFISHent cream, the extracted substances from the dehydrated fish side-streams include hydrolyzed collagen and Omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds are often used in skincare product due to their beneficial effects on the skin.


Omega-3 fatty acids

One of the key methods employed within the project is the use of hydrolytic enzymes. These enzymes play a crucial role in breaking down complex compounds present in the side-streams, facilitating the extraction of specific valuable resources that can be utilized in various industries, including cosmetics.

The Omega-3 fatty acids are substances obtained from the break-down of lipids “splitted” into smaller molecules by enzymatic addition of water (hydrolyzation).

Hydrolyzed collagen

Collagen is a structural protein found abundantly in the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals, including fish. In its native form, collagen is a large and complex protein. However, through the process of hydrolysis, collagen molecules are broken down into smaller peptides, resulting in hydrolyzed collagen. This hydrolysis process enhances the solubility and bioavailability of collagen, making it more easily absorbed by the skin.

What is an emulsion?

Emulsions are a common type of cosmetic formulation that consists in a fine dispersion of small droplets of two immiscible phases: a water phase and an oil phase.

Emulsion can be utilized in the EcoeFISHent project to incorporate the extracted hydrolyzed collagen and Omega-3 fatty acids from fish side-streams, delivering these beneficial ingredients to the skin.

Proof of concept

In June 2023 (M20), during the Ocean Race event in Genoa, a cosmetic cream containing hydrolysed marine collagen, has been distributed as a proof of concept, in collaboration with Angel Consulting, Ardes, Ticass and Unige.

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