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Produce: Peruvian researchers obtained bioleather from prickly pear leaves

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A group of peruvian researchers managed to produce a bioleather that has as raw material the pencas (leaves) of the prickly pears. In this way, they have produced sustainable fashion garments and accessories, since this material vegan it is eco-friendly: does not generate pollutants like other products and represents significant water savings.

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The project was executed by the textile company Class Yordans’s in alliance with the National Agrarian University La Molina (UNALM), in a team made up of biologists, agronomists and members of the company. For this they received funding from the Proinnovate program of the Ministry of Production (Produce).

The material obtained is “very similar to traditional leather”, says Produce in a statement. Thanks to this they were able to make purses, wallets and backpacks. Thus, the bioleather “has the appropriate characteristics for its commercialization in the market”, maintains the institution. The cuts of this compound are transformed into fashion pieces through leather goods.

After the process, two products are obtained: the extract of the leaves and the fibers, so that everything is used. Photo: Produce

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The process to obtain bioleather begins in the populated center Santiago de Tuna (Huarochirí, Lima), where the raw material is collected. The project team collects the prickly pear cuts that are discarded in the continuous pruning carried out by the community. After that, they proceed to remove the spines from the leaves and make small cuts to take them to a special extractor.

After the process, two products are obtained: the extract of the leaves and the fibers. So everything is used. “The fibers are dried and a mixture is made with the mucilage, which is the extract, along with dry fibers and some additional products that are 100% organic”, explained Medali Chacpi, biologist and general coordinator of the project.

“This final mixture is dried on the plates and in the stove, resulting in a piece of bioleather as such”, continued the specialist. Chacpi indicated that this process allows them to obtain various textures of bioleather, from the most rigid to the most flexible. Already with the prototypes, the project is in the laboratory scale phase to later reach a pilot stage.

Source: Larepublica

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