Phosphopag: a new environment-friendly biocide for treating firs and skins

Studies have shown that pathogens of infectious diseases can remain viable in fur-skins as long as 7-10 years. Therefore decontamination of pelts should be performed using effective and environment-friendly disinfectants.

Phosphopag can be successfully applied for the preliminary treatment of raw pelts without decreasing the quality of the semi-processed furs. Moreover, Phosphopag has strong decontaminating properties against pathogens living in fur-skins.

The Institute of Ecotechnologies has developed polymeric biocide Phosphopag, which can help solving many problems in fur industry connected with decontamination, preliminary processing, conservation, and currying of fur-skins.

Sanitary and hygienic safety has always been one of the most important characteristics of the raw materials of animal origin. The degree of biological damage due to microbe contamination is one of the main indicators of this safety.

More than 20 types of various microorganisms can be found on a fresh pelt after flaying. These include putrefactive ones with expressed proteolytic activity.

Raw pelts and sheepskins are treated with many different chemicals during processing in light industry. These include acids, hardeners, dyes, surfactants, solvents, etc. Many of these chemicals are toxic and belong to belong to the 1st and 2nd hazard classes according to the Russian state standard Ҡ12.1.007-76 Hazardous substances.

Classification and general safety requirements. Sodium, potassium, etc. chromates, silicofluorides, formaldehyde are among the most dangerous ones which aggravate the sanitary and hygienic properties of the working environment and also pollute the wastewaters of furring industry.

Replacing toxic chemicals in the fur treatment processes with environment-friendly ones is one of the possible ecological solutions for the fur industry.

Antiseptics are usually added to the soaking solution during the preliminary treatment of the raw pelts in order to prevent propagation of putrefactive bacteria, which damage the skins and hair follicles. Unfortunately, silicofluorides are traditionally used as antiseptic reagents in fur industry. These compounds are cancerogenic; they can accumulate in the organism and cause various mutations.

Moreover, it was found that silicofluorides only slightly inhibit microorganism propagation, and do not kill either putrefactive or pathogenic microflora. Besides, they are almost insoluble in water and are almost completely carried away with industrial wastewater and wastage, which has deteriorating impact on the environment.

Fur animals are prone to many diseases, predominantly of bacterial and viral origin as well as dermatomycoses. The instances of brucellosis of cattle and furry animals often occur in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Such diseases as pseudomonosis, listeriosis, and distemper in canines and felines are also rather common.

Pathogens of infectious diseases can remain in fur skins as long as 7-10 years, therefore decontamination of pelts should be performed using effective and environment-friendly disinfectants.

Storage conditions play an important role in ensuring high quality of raw pelts before processing. Therefore much attention is paid to the search for high-efficiency chemicals fur use in preliminary treatment and conservation of raw fir-skins.

However, despite the variety of urgent challenges the fur industry encounters, the absence of modern antiseptics for decontamination, preliminary treatment, conservation, and currying of fur- and sheepskins remains the most urgent problem requiring immediate solution.

The preference in all the developed countries is given to surfactants, guanidine derivatives, peroxides, and compositions based on salts of low-molecular organic acids.

The Institute of Ecotechnologies has developed a new class of polymeric alkylene and oxyalkylene guanidine compounds. These chemicals are water-soluble polymers with a wide range of biocidal activity, high stability, and low toxicity.

The biocidal properties of polyalkylene guanidines (PAGs) are due to the presence of repeating guanidine groups in their structure, which are the active components of many antibiotics. Hydrophobic polyethylene units connecting the guanidine groups facilitate adsorbtion of PAGs on the phospholipid membranes of microbial cells.

PAG salts are effective against most of the pathogenic microorganisms, which cause purulent, respiratory, and other diseases. Polyguanidines belong to the limited class of chemicals, which are active against both aerobic and anaerobic microflora. According to the Russian state standard Ҡ12.1.007-76, they belong to the 4th (low-hazard) class of compounds.

The above-discussed characteristics, versatility of the composition, the presence of special chemical compounds were the grounds for initiating the study of the Phosphopag polymeric biocide as disinfecting and antiseptic reagent for treatment of raw fur-skins in light industry.

The experts of the Research institute for veterinary sanitation, hygiene, and ecology in cooperation with the Research institute of fur industry have studied the efficiency of the antiseptic chemical Phosphopag in treatment of fur skins. The guidelines for application of this biocide for disinfection of mink, polar fox, and silver fox pelts in case of diseases of bacterial and viral origin were developed.

It was established that the antiseptic efficiency of Phosphopag exceeds the similar properties of silicofluorides by a factor of 10000. The results of field tests performed by the furring company Runo, Ltd. show that

Phosphopag can be successfully applied in soaking of raw pelts without impairing the quality of the semi-processed product. Besides, PAG has pronounced decontaminating activity against pathogens living in fur skins.

The developed technology of Phosphopag application during soaking and simultaneous decontamination of the raw materials allows producing high-quality semi-processed furs complying with the current standards. This technology also helps reducing the pollution degree of the wastewater and wastage of the currying industry.

Nina Griganova, Ph.D. (biology)

Leading research associate of the

Research institute for veterinary

sanitation, hygiene, and ecology

Boris Grigoriev, Ph.D. (chemistry)

Head of lab of the Research

institute of fur industry

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