An application of advanced hair-save processes in leather industry as the reason of formation of keratinous waste: few peculiarities of its utilisation.


Department of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry, Kaunas University of Technology, Radvilenu pl. 19, LT-50254, Kaunas, Lithuania. [Email]


The application of more environmentally friendly hide and skin unhairing technologies in leather processing results in a significant increase in keratin waste. There are currently two most promising hair-saving unhairing methods: enzymatic and hair immunisation. The complete use of hair-saving unhairing methods in the leather industry will lead to the formation of approximately 143 thousand tons of hair/wool waste annually, which will require disposal. The disposal of keratin wastes from the leather industry has not been adequately studied, bearing in mind the possible amount of such wastes that will be produced in the future. Unfortunately, existing studies pay little attention to the method of unhairing, even though the unhairing method has a vast influence on the properties of keratin in the obtained hair/wool wastes. Accordingly, the present research is an attempt to establish how the differently obtained keratin wastes behave following disposal. The obtained results have shown that waste wool is characterised by different behaviour during burial in soil, and the behaviour depends on the method of unhairing. This proposition is valid for waste wool bioresistance as well. It was concluded that the deterioration of any sort of keratinous waste from the leather industry should be investigated thoroughly before disposal by burial in landfills.


Biodegradation,Fungi,Keratin wastes,Leather,Unhairing,Wool,