Green chemistry approaches to leather tanning process for making chrome-free leather by unnatural amino acids.

Research paper by G G Krishnamoorthy, S S Sadulla, P K PK Sehgal, Asit Baran AB Mandal

Indexed on: 17 Mar '12Published on: 17 Mar '12Published in: Journal of Hazardous Materials


In the present study, green and sustainable method or eco-friendly approaches to tanning process based on unnatural D-amino acids (D-AA)-aldehyde (Ald) as a substitute for chrome-free tanning has been attempted. The distribution of optically active D-AA in tanned leather, the hydrothermal stability, the mechanical properties and resistance to collagenolytic activity of tanned leather, the evaluation of eco-friendly characteristics were investigated. Scanning electron microscopic (SEM) and Atomic force microscopic (AFM) analyses indicate the surface morphology and roughness, respectively, of the tanned leather collagen matrix. Shrinkage and Differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) analyses shows that the shrinkage temperature (T(s)) and denaturation temperature (T(d)) of tanned leather are related to the content of D-AA+Ald present in the leather matrix. It has been found that the T(s) of D-AA tanned leather is more than that of Ald tanned leather and also more or less equal to chrome tanned leather. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) shows that the developed process results in significant reduction in total solids content (TSC) and improves better biodegradability of organic compound present in the effluent compared to chrome tanning.