A Review of Natural Plants as Sources of Substances for Cleaner Leather Tanning Technologies

Kallen Mulilo Nalyanya, Ronald K. Rop, Arthur S. Onyuka, Zephania Birech

Received 30 January 2021; Accepted 23 March 2021; Published Online 31 March 2021

The stringent environmental regulations and compliance regarding leather tanning has compelled leather industry to seek alternative cleaner ingredients that have the capacity to minimize or prevent pollution caused by hazardous chemicals. Practical measures have so far involved replacing the current use of synthetic chemicals such as chromium salts, dyes, fatliquors and surfactants or minimizing their usage by incorporating agro-based organic components. Numerous papers have documented the use of different plant extracts at different stages of leather processing such as tanning, retanning, dyeing and fatliquoring. This present article details the specific plants and the leather processing stage at which they are applied and eventually the quality of the resulting leather. This article attempts to compile a considerable number of investigations published on physical properties of leather that is processed using natural plants. It has been shown that there are striking similarities in leather properties of leather processed using natural plants and using synthetic chemicals. This could help in compiling a database that details works on natural plants, stages of application and the corresponding physical properties which could provide a crucial assistance to research focusing on environmental protection and physical properties of leather which would in turn improve the quality of the resulting leather.

Vegetable tanning, Leather, Hazardous, Environment

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