LASRA® conducts research on all aspects of leather production, from skin removal and preservation to advanced property enhancement for added value leathers. Our current research is looking at ways to maximise on the quality of hides and skins and improve their performance properties as leathers. We are also investigating ways to further reduce the environmental impact of leather manufacturing by moving leather processing closer to the concept of a circular economy.

LASRA® engages in a broad range of research on skins and hides in support of our Industry from identification of improved methods for skin removal from the carcase, preservation of skins and hides both short-term and long-term, identification and evaluation of new depilation technologies and techniques, development of tanning processes and chemistries including ThruBlu™ to reduce chemical usage and discharge of chloride and sulphate to effluent, and advanced research into nano-reagents for improved chemical, fire, heat and bacterial resistance.

LASRA® has always maintained a strong practical background to its research, which is supported by dedicated facilities for trial leather production and product testing.

MBIE-funded work

A significant portion of LASRA’s research activity is Government co-funded. Where the research outcomes are longer-term, and potentially of high value, but uncertain, or identified as of significant benefit to NZ exports, Government support takes some of the risk out of the research and supports fundamental studies to improve our understanding of processes and develop better ones.

As a Research Association, LASRA is closely aligned with the interests of one of New Zealand’s greatest value exporters, the hides and skins processing industry, which generates over $380M p.a. in foreign exchange (2017 Stats NZ figure). Our members process 100% of NZ’s hides and deerskins and over 85% of lamb and sheepskins.

ITAG projects

Technical representatives from Member tanners and fellmongers meet bi-annually with LASRA staff to discuss progress on research. The first meeting of the year is held at LASRA to discuss results from the previous year’s work and suggestions for follow-up work or any new projects proposed. A second meeting is held later in the year prior to the Conference to provide a progress update.

A rating scheme is used to prioritise close-to-industry research projects, ensuring only research which is seen as most relevant is conducted as a priority.

Contracted work

LASRA engages in a number of client specific projects every year to determine the efficacy of a treatment, optimum settings of variables within a range of parameters and alternatives to current industry norms.

These projects are typically very intensive in nature, and provide a client confidential report when completed with specific recommendations or observations to assist with further development.

Selected Recent Publications

Sahebjam, F., Chambers, P., Kongara, K., Zhang, Y., Lopez, N., Jacob, A., Singh, P. and Prabakar, S., 2024. Minimizing pain in deer antler removal: Local anaesthetics in ZnO nanoparticle based collagen dressings as a promising solution. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, p.114237.

Wise, W.R., Davis, S.J., Hendriksen, W.E., von Behr, D.J., Prabakar, S. and Zhang, Y., 2023. Zeolites as sustainable alternatives to traditional tanning chemistries. Green Chemistry25(11), pp.4260-4270.

Leveneur, J., Zhang, Y., Fiedler, H., Prabakar, S., Le Ru, E.C. and Kennedy, J., 2023. Surface modification of collagen using low-energy noble gas ion implantationSurface and Coatings Technology468, p.129768.

Liu, Y., Dixit, Y., Reis, M.M. and Prabakar, S., 2023. Towards the non-invasive assessment of staling in bovine hides with hyperspectral imaging. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy289, p.122220.

Zhang, Y., 2023. Investigating the Structure of Collagen using Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy and X-ray Scattering (Doctoral dissertation, Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington).

Kılıç, E., McLaren, S.J., Holmes, G., Fullana-i-Palmer, P. and Puig, R., 2023. Product environmental footprint of New Zealand leather production. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment28(4), pp.349-366.

Yi, Y., Zhang, Y., Mansel, B., Wang, Y.N., Prabakar, S. and Shi, B., 2022. Effect of dialdehyde carboxymethyl cellulose cross-linking on the porous structure of the collagen matrix. Biomacromolecules23(4), pp.1723-1732.

Zhang, Y., Prabakar, S. and Le Ru, E.C., 2022. Coadsorbed species with halide ligands on silver nanoparticles with different binding affinities. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C126(20), pp.8692-8702.

Zhang, Y., Zhang, W., Snow, T., Ju, Y., Liu, Y., Smith, A.J. and Prabakar, S., 2022. Minimising chemical crosslinking for stabilising collagen in acellular bovine pericardium: Mechanistic insights via structural characterisations. Acta Biomaterialia152, pp.113-123.

Tu, Y.H., Ahn, M., Rakonjac, J., Holmes, G. and Norris, G., 2022. Milk provides the basis for an eco-friendly shorter process for skin preservation and leather manufactureCleaner Engineering and Technology, p.100464.

McRae, K.M., Cooper, S.M., McEwan, J.C., Anderson, R., Bain, W.E., Baird, H.J., Dodds, K.G., Clarke, S.M., Pickering, N.K. and Holmes, G., 2022. Genetic variation in skin traits in New Zealand lambs. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Mehta, M., Liu, Y., Waterland, M. and Holmes, G., 2021. Characterization of the degradation of sheepskin by monitoring Cytochrome c of bacteria by Raman spectroscopyAnalytical Letters54(6), pp.1005-1022.

Mehta, M., Liu, Y., Waterland, M. and Holmes, G., 2021. Monitoring the mode of action of synthetic and natural biocides against Aeromonas hydrophila by Raman spectroscopy and chemometricsJournal of Leather Science and Engineering3(1), pp.1-15.

Hon Wei NG., 2021. Study on molecular-level collagen structure changes caused by enzymatic depilation process using X-Ray Scattering. IULTCS YLSG 2021 (Basic Research)

M. Aslam, T. M. Khan, S. S. Naqvi and G. Holmes, “Putting Current State of the art Object Detectors to the Test: Towards Industry Applicable Leather Surface Defect Detection,” 2021 Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications (DICTA), 2021, pp. 01-08, doi: 10.1109/ DICTA52665. 2021. 9647409.

Zhang Y, Mehta M, Mansel BW, Ng HW, Liu Y, Holmes G, Le Ru EC, Prabakar S. Anion‐regulated binding selectivity of Cr (III) in collagen. Biopolymers. 2020 Nov 2:e23406.