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

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.

Naffa R, Zhang Y, Mansel B, Zhang W, Maidment C, Deb-Choudhury S, Holmes G, Shehadi IA, Prabakar S. Chemical and Structural Composition of Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) Skin with a Focus on Collagen Crosslinks. Small Ruminant Research. 2020 Jun 3:106144.

Naffa R, Holmes G, Zhang W, Maidment C, Shehadi I, Norris G. Comparison of liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection to liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for amino acid analysis with derivatisation by 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl-carbamate: Applications for analysis of amino acids in skin. Arabian Journal of Chemistry. 2020 Feb 1;13(2):3997-4008.

Zhang Y, Naffa R, Garvey CJ, Maidment CA, Prabakar S. Quantitative and structural analysis of isotopically labelled natural crosslinks in type I skin collagen using LC-HRMS and SANS. Journal of Leather Science and Engineering. 2019 Dec 1;1(1):10.

Naffa R, Maidment C, Ahn M, Ingham B, Hinkley S, Norris G. Molecular and structural insights into skin collagen reveals several factors that influence its architecture. International journal of biological macromolecules. 2019 May 1;128:509-20.

Zhang Y, Snow T, Smith AJ, Holmes G, Prabakar S. A guide to high-efficiency chromium (III)-collagen cross-linking: Synchrotron SAXS and DSC study. International journal of biological macromolecules. 2019 Apr 1;126:123-9.

Naffa R, Maidment C, Holmes G, Norris G. Insights into the molecular composition of the skins and hides used in leather manufacture. Journal of the American Leather Chemists Association. 2019 Jan 1;114(1).