I sent you a PM.
Some salt prints use egg albumen which is gelatin! Gelatian supplies a glossy surface or carries matting agents for a matte surface or other effects. But needed? No, unless you want SPEED!!! Or perhaps COLOR, or even INSTANT!!! :)
There is also uniform coating, high speed coating and a host of other things.
Has anyone here managed to create gelatin free negative film?
I do not know if this would apply to what you are trying to accomplish and I do not know much about chemistry, but 2 things come to mind if looking for a type of plant that would make a gelatin like product.
One would be agar and the other carrageenan, one is a culture product of algae used for growing mushrooms and the other is obtained from seaweed used as a common ingredient in milk products like ice cream.
They are both gelatin-like.
I have no idea how these would react to any type of photographic process or if they would have application at all and I also don't think these would be very permanent.
Could these products be used in some type of non-silver based photography?
If you want an alternative to gelatin for coating negative-producing plates, just get into wet plate collodion. The chemistry is messy, the results are irregular, but you are dealing with a 100% animal-free product. Silver nitrate, collodion (cotton fibers dissolved in alcohol), ether, cadmium bromide, potassium bromide or iodide, sugar, ferrous sulfate, and cyanide (or hypo). All plant-based or inorganic.
Are you eating the gelatin when working or what. there is a lot of processes to make prints without gelatin. Pt/Pl is one.
Collodion is an ether solution of guncotton! It is flammable and explosive, so take care!
Gelatin serves many purposes in today''s modern emulsion making. It makes high speed and safe emulsions with good hardness and keeping.