Recovery of Industrially Useful Hair and Fat from Enzymatic Unhairing of Goatskins during Leather Processing

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Joseph Ondari Nyakundi
Jackson Nyarongi Ombui
Wycliffe Chisutia Wanyonyi
Francis Jakim Mulaa


Leather processing not only serves social needs by putting into use the meat industry’s by-products (hides and skins) but also makes a significant contribution to global economic growth through trade and job creation. In the wake of globalization, however, leather manufacturers are facing new challenges in meeting environmental imperatives and improving the utilization of wastes generated during leather processing. This study describes the recovery of hair and fat
from fleshings obtained after enzymatic unhairing of goatskins using a protease from an isolate of Bacillus cereus Strain 1-p. The recovered hair and fats were further characterized to facilitate recommendations for different industrial applications. The following hair properties were visually examined and evaluated by hand; straight length, density and uniformity, hair strength and overall quality. The fats were analyzed by characterizing the fatty acid composition using the
Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS analysis). The recovered hair was intact and rated to be of average to good quality. The fat characterization indicated that methyl 9Z-octadecenoate (9Z-heptadecenoic acid; oleic acid) was the most abundant fatty acid with an abundance of 31.65%. The sulfide-free fats and intact hair, therefore, were recommended for use in various industrial applications such as manufacturing of poultry feedstuff, organic fertilizers, biodiesel and biofuels, fatliquoring agents, soaps and cosmetics after further purification where necessary. The hair and fats recovered from this study are particularly advantageous over those recovered from sulfide unhairing systems as they are free from any sulfides or lime contamination thus easier to purify and use. The study concluded that the use of the enzyme extract from Bacillus cereus Strain 1-p to unhair goatskins facilitated the recovery of valuable hair
and fats that can be used for other industrial applications.

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