Collagen: A Biological Plastic

  • Kurt H. Stenzel
  • Teruo Miyata
  • Albert L. Rubin
Part of the Polymer Science and Technology book series (POLS, volume 8)


Collagen is, in many ways, a biological plastic. The dictionary definition of plastic includes such phrases as, it “suggests qualities, such as those of wax or clay, soft enough to be molded yet capable of hardening into desired form”. Collagen is synthesized in certain specialized animal cells as a soluble material which is then secreted from the cell and hardened by a variety of poorly understood control mechanisms. This results in collagen materials for the function, support, and protection of various animal organs. Our interest has been, first, to understand the structure of this material and its importance in medicine and biology; and, second, to isolate, purify, and restructure collagen as a possible replacement for damaged organs or tissues. A protein that comprises more than 25% of human tissues is, of course, of great interest to medical scientists. Alterations of collagenous materials in disease are of profound importance in understanding many pathological processes. Since there is always room for improvement of artificial organs, investigation of the properties of a natural biomaterial is also of value.


Triple Helix Collagen Molecule Collagen Membrane Cyanogen Bromide Collagen Material 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt H. Stenzel
    • 1
  • Teruo Miyata
    • 1
  • Albert L. Rubin
    • 1
  1. 1.Rogosin Kidney CenterThe New York Hospital-Cornell Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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