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

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 MatrixBiomacromolecules.

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.

Aslam, M., Khan, T.M., Naqvi, S.S., Holmes, G. and Naffa, R., 2021. Learning to recognize irregular features on leather surfaces. Journal of the American Leather Chemists Association116(5).

Etxabide, A., Kilmartin, P.A., Maté, J.I., Prabakar, S., Brimble, M. and Naffa, R., 2021. Analysis of advanced glycation end products in ribose-, glucose-and lactose-crosslinked gelatin to correlate the physical changes induced by Maillard reaction in filmsFood Hydrocolloids117, p.106736.

Mehta, M., Naffa, R., Zhang, W., Schreurs, N.M., Waterland, M., Cooper, S. and Holmes, G., 2021. Validity and reliability of Raman spectroscopy for carotenoid assessment in cattle skinBiochemistry and biophysics reports27, p.101036.

Mehta, M., Liu, Y., Naffa, R., Waterland, M. and Holmes, G., 2021. Changes to the Collagen Structure using Vibrational Spectroscopy and Chemometrics: A Comparison between Chemical and Sulfide-Free Leather ProcessJournal of the American Leather Chemists Association116(11), pp.379-389.

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.

Maidment C, Ahn M, Naffa R, Loo T, Norris G. Comparative Analysis of the Proteomic Profile of Cattle Hides that Produce Loose and Tight Leather using In-Gel Tryptic Digestion followed by LC-MS/MS. Journal of the American Leather Chemists Association. 2020 Nov 2;115(11):399-408.

Zhang Y, Buchanan J, Naffa R, Mansel B, Maidment C, Holmes G, Prabakar S. In situ structural studies during denaturation of natural and synthetically crosslinked collagen using synchrotron SAXS. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation. 2020 Sep 1;27(5).

Gaar J, Naffa R, Brimble M. Enzymatic and non-enzymatic crosslinks found in collagen and elastin and their chemical synthesis. Organic Chemistry Frontiers. 2020;7(18):2789-814.