Massey University PhD candidate Rafea Naffa has developed a new novel method for the routine analysis and quantitation of crosslinks in different animal skins in which potential new collagen crosslinks were identified that are as yet undocumented. The method is fast, rapid and flexible and allows identification of a number of different mature and immature crosslinks.


The ability to separate and quantitate crosslinks in a single step without the need for both pre- and post-derivatization will provide the tools for mining other as yet unidentified crosslinks in skin, bone, tendon and other tissues such as cancer cells. Such studies on diseased and normal tissues will continue to add to our understanding of the role of crosslinks in a number of diseases and identify biomarkers for specific disease.


Rafea is part of a LASRA-led research project researching strength.


Naffa, R. et al. (2016). Liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry for the simultaneous quantitation of collagen and elastin crosslinks. J. Chromatogr. A 1478, 60–67.

fig 7

Illustrated, Collagen crosslinks isolated from sheep, goat, deer and cow skins. The Crosslinks were normalised to the collagen contents of the various skins which were calculated on the basis of their hydroxyproline content.