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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGIES FOR PROCESSING OF HIDES, LEATHER, WOOL, AND ASSOCIATED BYPRODUCTS Project Number: 1935-41440-017-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 24, 2009
End Date: Jun 23, 2010

Objective:
1. Functional modification, leather and leather byproducts: Develop a foundation for the use of new chemical and biochemical technologies (a) in the production of high quality chrome-free leathers, (b) in expanding the range of high value biomaterial applications for solubilized proteins from leather byproducts. 2. Functional modification, wool: Modify wool to impart functionality for improved performance and expanded uses of domestic wool.

Approach:
1. Collagen modification is central to both tanning and byproduct utilization. (a) To develop a basis for designing or selecting effective sustainable tanning agents, the results of theoretical and experimental model studies will be integrated to give the best overall evaluation. Targets for chrome-free tanning agents will include natural products (tannins, genipin), enzymes for protein modification (transglutaminase, oxidases), and organic chemicals (aldehydes, acrylates). (b) Gelatin byproducts from leather processing will be evaluated alone and in combination with other proteins from renewable agricultural resources as potential coatings and fillers for use in leather or wool processing. Partially hydrolyzed collagen recovered from leather waste will also be combined with fibrous protein waste products for the preparation of novel composite materials with useful properties, such as high strength and thermal stability, for use in a variety of industrial applications, such as "bonded" leather and shoe inner soles. 2. The ERRC process (patent pending) of treating wool fabric for shrinkage control will be evaluated on wool blended with other natural and synthetic fibers, and yarndyed fabrics. Chemical and biochemical modifications of intact wool to add functionality will be evaluated for improved properties, such as softness, comfort, resistance to shrinkage, improved flame retardancy, and resistance to photodegradation. Collagen hydrolysates, or other proteinaceous carriers, will be applied to wool fabric as a vehicle for introducing agents that impart such properties as improved whiteness, resistance to ignition, and photoprotection.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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