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Tanners Might Replace an Old Salt With a Potassium One

By Doris Stanley
January 10, 1997

Could potassium chloride replace common salt that’s now used in the meat packing and tanning industries to preserve animal hides?

If so, these industries could eliminate an environmental problem: the disposal of used salt brine.

Unlike sodium, potassium is a plant nutrient. Waste from a new potassium chloride process, developed by scientists with the Agricultural Research Service, could be recycled for use as crop fertilizer.

ARS scientists have shown that the new process does not affect leather quality, and are working with industry to demonstrate how it works.

To investigate the potential of the new process, ARS has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kalium Canada, Ltd., of Regina, Saskatchewan. Kalium Canada is a subsidiary of Vigro, a U.S. firm.

Scientific contact: David Bailey, USDA-ARS Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, phone (215) 233-6486