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Research Project: Improving the Quality of Animal Hides, Reducing Environmental Impacts of Hide Production, and Developing Value-Added Products from Wool

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Title: Limiting microbial activity as an alternative approach of bovine hide preservation, Part 1: Efficacy of Developed Formulations

item Sarker, Majher
item LONG, WILBERT III - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item Liu, Cheng Kung

Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/2019
Publication Date: 5/1/2019
Citation: Sarker, M.I., Long, W., Liu, C. 2019. Limiting microbial activity as an alternative approach of bovine hide preservation, Part 1: Efficacy of Developed Formulations. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 114:271-278.

Interpretive Summary: Conventional technique of animal hide preservation requires a huge amount of salt weighing approximately half of the hide or 95% saturated brine solution. During leather processing this salt has to be removed from the hide and consequently generates a pollution problem by increasing salinity of the soil which leads to barren environment. The primary goal of this research is to develop a hide preservation technique with less salt usage. For hide preservation it is essential to arrest the microbial attack on hide as the main constituent of raw hide is protein which is very susceptible for bacterial degradation. ARS scientists at Wyndmoor, PA have developed a bovine hide preserving formulation by combining the diluted brine solution with low concentration of biocide. The inventive formulation reduces the salt usage by 60% than the traditional hide curing technique. The newly developed formulation has been found more effective in limiting microbial growth on cured hide than the conventionally cured sample and thus preserve the hide sample for an expected period of time.

Technical Abstract: The traditional wet salting technique of bovine hide curing requires 95% or more saturated brine solution which generates a huge amount of pollution and salinity in the form of total dissolved solids (TDS) and chlorides (Cl-) during leather processing. Therefore, much attention is currently placed on tanneries requiring to reduce or eliminate the use of sodium chloride as a raw hide/skin preservative. For the preservation of hide it is essential to arrest microbial attack as the collagen-breaking enzymes called collagenase produced by the bacteria can cause serious degradation on hide which leads to the putrefaction of raw hide before converting them into leather. In this research effort, a number formulas have been developed and evaluated for their efficacy in preserving bovine hide for 30 days or more. This attempt has been made to evolve a least chloride containing curing system for salinity abatement, where 35% saturated brine is used as the base solution. The developed formulations have been evaluated with better efficacy than the conventional technique on limiting bacterial growth, controlling yeast and mold during the storage period of cured hide. The alternative methods also offer quick rehydration of cured hide during leather processing and Airborne Ultrasonic scanning detects no detrimental impact on alternatively cured hides. Therefore, this new development is ideally suited for hide preservation through better protection of hide from microbial degradation and improved conservation of environment in compare to the traditional method.