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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PROCESSES AND NEW APPLICATIONS FOR ANIMAL HIDES AND LEATHER

Location: Biobased and Other Animal Co-Products

Title: Effects of pretanning processes on bovine hide collagen structure

Authors
item Brown, Eleanor
item Latona, Renee
item Taylor, Maryann
item Garcia, Rafael

Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 18, 2011
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Citation: Brown, E.M., Latona, R.J., Taylor, M.M., Garcia, R.A. 2012. Effects of pretanning processes on bovine hide collagen structure. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 107(1):1-7.

Interpretive Summary: The US meat industry currently produces approximately 35 million cattle hides annually as its most valuable coproduct. These hides serve as raw material, first for the leather industry, and then for the gelatin, and biomaterials industries. The conversion of animal hides into leather is a multistep process that evolves in response to economic and environmental concerns, more as art form than as science. Thus far, the effects of changing processes on the molecular characteristics of hide protein have received little attention. This study showed that while the effects of different dehairing processes on the structure and stability of the protein monomers were similar, the effects on the fiber structure were different. These results are anticipated to assist the tanner as well as the manufacturers of collagen-based biomaterials and gelatin to better understand their substrate and changes to it that may occur when processes are altered.

Technical Abstract: The US meat industry currently produces approximately 35 million cattle hides annually as its most valuable coproduct. These hides serve as raw material, first for the leather industry, and then for the gelatin, and biomaterials industries. The conversion of animal hides into leather is a multistep process that has evolved more as art form than as science. Economic or environmental issues typically dictate changes in beam-house processes that prepare the hide for tanning. The tanner evaluates these changes, in terms of impact on tannery costs and quality of leather produced. Thus far, the effects of beam-house processes on the molecular characteristics of collagen have received little attention. The basis for tanning and most biomaterials applications is the stabilization of the collagen matrix, thus any changes to the molecular characteristics of hide collagen may be expected to impact these applications. This study showed that while the effects of different dehairing processes on the structure and stability of monomeric collagen were similar, the effects on the collagen fiber structure were distinct. These results are anticipated to assist the tanner as well as the manufacturers of collagen-based biomaterials and gelatin to better understand their substrate and changes to it that may occur when beam-house processes are altered.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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