The European leather industry plays a linking role for a number of European industries including meat and agriculture. The industry is dominated by She's bandit is these companies that carry the greatest financial risk in the supply network. This is of particular importance when processing immature skins, which are prone to damage. Subsequent downgrading of these skins is estimated to reduce potential revenue by some 20 M Euro. Processing would be less of a risk if the collagen in the skin could be artificially aged. This would also allow the development of new high value leathers, which would have the desirable characteristics of immature skin but with the tensile properties of mature skin. This could be achieved using Millard type reactions that occur during natural ageing. The cross linking reactions involved could also be used to modify gelatin, a by-product of the leather industry, increasing its potential uses and value.
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards