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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: Soaking formulations that can soften and remove hardened bovine manure: part II, effects on quality of leather

Authors
item Ramos, Mila
item Muir, Zerlina
item Ashby, Richard

Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 4, 2012
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Citation: Ramos, M., Muir, Z.E., Ashby, R.D. 2012. Soaking formulations that can soften and remove hardened bovine manure: part II, effects on quality of leather. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 107(5):167-174.

Interpretive Summary: The mechanical stress due to the weight and pressure of hard to remove adobe-type manure on bovine hides can cause unwanted holes in the finished leather. We have developed new soaking solutions with the incorporation of crude glycerol and sodium carbonate, with or without sophorolipid (a biodegradable surfactant), was found to be effective in the softening and subsequent removal of the adobe-type manure. The mechanical property measurements showed that our newly developed soaking formulations have positive effects on the quality of leather. The improvements in the mechanical properties of the resultant leather products were observed especially when pure or crude glycerol and sodium carbonate were included in the soaking formulations. A more eco-friendly process can be realized by using less soaking solution than what the hide industry is currently using for cleaning dirty hides. In this newly developed process there is no need to use high concentrations of antibiotic and surfactant that are normally present in standard soaking solutions if crude glycerol and sodium carbonate are included. In addition, no visible physical changes or microscopic differences in hide samples were observed after soaking and removing the adobe-type manure. The newly developed soaking formulations are proven safe and non-invasive to the hides and the resulting leather products.

Technical Abstract: Previously developed soaking formulations were shown to soften adobe-type manure and facilitating its removal thus limiting its damaging effects on bovine hides. The mechanical stress due to the weight and pressure of hard to remove adobe-type manure on bovine hides can cause unwanted holes in the finished leather. The incorporation of crude glycerol and sodium carbonate with or without sophorolipid (a biodegradable surfactant) in the soaking solution was found to be effective in the softening and subsequent removal of the adobe-type manure. The leather industry is interested in the potential effects of our newly developed soaking formulations on leather quality. The standard soaking solution that industry generally utilizes is composed of a high concentration of antibiotic and a surfactant, whereas we used 0.1% Proxel GXL and 0.15% Boron-TS, respectively. In this study, we report that by utilizing crude glycerol and sodium carbonate, only 10-25% of the standard soaking solution is necessary to soften and facilitate the removal of adobe-type manure. The mechanical properties of the leather products made from the hides soaked in these newly developed formulations were improved thus enhancing the overall quality of the finished leather.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014
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