1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To analyze the decorin content of the BCD materials so that the physical properties or quality of leather products, obtained by utilizing waterless tanning process, can be correlated to its residual amount. This research project will support the AIICA objectives in trying to solve the problem of excessive pollution due to enormous waste water disposal from the effluents of the hides and tanning industry.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
BCD is a material based on dehydrated collagen and waterless procedure from hides and skins that the AIICA scientists have developed in Igualada, Spain. ARS researchers will perform decorin assay by adapting the developed Alcian Blue colorimetric assay technique on the BCD samples. The Alcian Blue colorimetric assay of the SGAG or sulfated glycosaminoglycan tail of the decorin molecule will be employed. This will allow correlation of the decorin content with the physical properties or quality of finished leather from the BCD materials compared to the leather product obtained by employing the standard tanning procedure. The ARS scientists have established that further removal of decorin resulted in improvement in leather quality.
3. Progress Report:
ARS scientists have successfully finished the ARS-USDA approved collaborative work with the Spanish Scientists on the analysis of decorin in their BCD samples. The scientists from USDA and Associacion de Investigacion de las Industries del Curtido y Anexas (AIICA) of Spain are working together to attain a common goal of trying to develop tanning methods that are eco-friendly and have less impact on the environment. The collaborating Spanish scientists have successfully developed a waterless tanning process. The research result was presented at the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies Conference held in Valencia, Spain, in September, 2011. ARS scientists have finished the research project and are currently preparing the manuscript to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal pertaining to the decorin content results and its correlation to the mechanical properties of the Dried Collagenous Biomaterial (BCD) materials. Additional information regarding the chemical structure of the differenly treated BCD samples utilizing the near InfraRed (nIR) spectroscopy technique have also been included. It illustrated the similarities and/or differences among the differently treated BCD samples compared to the control crust leather obtained from traditionally treated hide. The quality of the crust leather from the BCD material is comparable to the control when dried with acetone for about four times. The process proved useful in obtaining crust leather with less wastewater disposed to the environment and the solvent used can be recycled and reused.