A novel amylase-based biocatalyst has been developed by researchers at the Central Leather Research Institute (CSIR-CLRI), Chennai. It was created using Genetic Engineering techniques.
Significance of this finding
- Pre-tanning process generates 60-70% of total pollution during processing. By drastically cutting the time taken to process the skin at the pre-tanning stage, it helps in processing leather in an environment-friendly way.
- When the biocatalyst is used, the amount of effluent discharge is considerably cut as there is threefold reduction in water usage.
- Also, no chemicals are used, this will aid in reducing the chemical oxygen demand by about 35% while the total solid effluent load reduces by over 50%.
- It makes the process of opening the fibres quicker as it takes just 10 minutes to open the fibres when the biocatalyst is used compared with traditional enzymes that take three-four hours.
- It is sufficient to use less amount of chromium to increase the stability of the collagen and the quality of the finished leather also becomes superior.
- About 21% of the chromium used gets absorbed by the skin, which is far more than when other enzymes or chemical-based methods are used, leading to reduced chromium in the effluent discharge.
- The biocatalyst is stable even at a high temperature of 90 degree C and pH 10 and so up to 95% of the enzyme can be recovered after a single process and reused.
About CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research)
It was established by the Government of India in September 1942 as an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India.
Schemes initiated by CSIR
- CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test for JRF and Eligibility for Lectureship.
- CSIR has been supporting a large number of research fellows/associates for pursuing their doctoral and postdoctoral research in universities and R&D institutions across the country.
- CSIR’s ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) Prize for Science and Technology’, instituted in 1957 is the most coveted and revered prize in science and technology in the country.