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Effects of pretanning processes on bovine hide collagen structure

Brown, Eleanor M., Latona, Renee J., Taylor, Maryann M., Garcia, Rafael A.
The Journal of the American Leather Chemists Association. 2012 v.107 no.1 pp. 1
cattle, collagen, leather, product quality, protein structure, raw materials, tanning, United States
The US meat industry currently produces approximately 35 million cattle hides annually as its most valuable coproduct. These hides serve as raw material, first for the leather industry, and then for the gelatin, and biomaterials industries. The conversion of animal hides into leather is a multistep process that has evolved more as art form than as science. Economic or environmental issues typically dictate changes in beam-house processes that prepare the hide for tanning. The tanner evaluates these changes, in terms of impact on tannery costs and quality of leather produced. Thus far, the effects of beam-house processes on the molecular characteristics of collagen have received little attention. The basis for tanning and most biomaterials applications is the stabilization of the collagen matrix, thus any changes to the molecular characteristics of hide collagen may be expected to impact these applications. This study showed that while the effects of different dehairing processes on the structure and stability of monomeric collagen were similar, the effects on the collagen fiber structure were distinct. These results are anticipated to assist the tanner as well as the manufactures of collagen-based biomaterials and gelatin to better understand their substrate and changes to it that may occur when beamhouse processes are altered.