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Further loosening and peptising of the fibre texture of the skin and elimination of alkali-swelling with the aid of specific enzymes.

Enzymes in bating agents

Enzymes are biological catalysts that accelerate the reactions without themselves being modified. Enzymes, which act specifically on proteins, are called proteases.

The following proteases are used as bating agents:

1. Pancreas proteases (trypsin)

2. Mould fungus proteases

3. Bacteria proteases

Bating agents with pancreas proteases (mainly used) develop their opti- mum effect in slightly alkaline pH range (8.0 – 8.5). Composition:

Enzymes, wood flour as carrier substance, ammonium salts, neutral salts as buffering and deliming agents.

Bating agents with mould fungus proteases develop their best effect at pH 3.5 – 5.0, and bating agents with bacteria proteases at pH 6.0 – 7.2. The buffering substances in these bating agents are among others sulfi- tes and bisulfites. Commercial bating agents may contain a mixture of all three types of proteases.

Influencing the bating effect

Te mperature:

temperature. Bating temperature used in practice: 30 – 37 °C. Higher temperatures cause damage to the skin material. Neutral salt content: Higher concentrations may reduce or inactivate the bating effect.

The rate of enzymatic reaction increases with rising



Rating of bating agents

The enzyme value is the number of enzyme units in 1 g bating agent. One enzyme unit has the fermentative capacity to digest 1.725 mg casein.

Enzyme value


Enzyme unit

= LVU x 1.725

The enzyme unit is determined according to Löhlein-Volhard by allowing the bating agent to act upon an alkaline casein solution. Undigested casein is precipitated with hydrochloric acid and sodium sulfate. The alkali consumption in re-titration is a direct measure of the enzymatic effectiveness of the bating agent.

This titration method was recently supplemented by a photometric method with trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (Tegewa method). Almost all liberated amino groups are also detected after hydrolysis by proteolytic enzymes.

Pancreas-based bating agents mainly used in practice:

1. Weak bating agents


(technical leather, harness leather)

500 – 1000 LVU

2. Medium strong bating agents (upper leather, lining leather, fancy leather)

3. Strong bating agents = 1500 – 2000 LVU (glove, clothing leather)

= 1000 – 1500 LVU

BASF bating agents

Basozym C 10

Bating agent based on pancreatic enzymes for use on all types of leather. Activity ca. 1000 LVU/g.

Basozym CS 10

Special enzyme preparation for opening up small skins and fur skins in acid media. Activity ca. 900 LVU/g.

Basozym 1000

Universal bating agent for all types of raw stock and all types of leather. Activity ca. 1000 LVU/g.