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The Peau'Lux Project : creating value from agricultural co-products

Peau'Lux is a project aiming to create value from the skins of domestic Lacaune lambs via the production of leather goods. It is run by OVI Plateau Central, a private company, and is being carried out in Roquefort and surrounding areas. Researchers at INRA and the French National Veterinary School of Toulouse (ENVT) are project collaborators. Funding was provided by the French national government via the Single Interministerial Fund's 20th call for grant proposals as well as by the regional governments mentioned below:

Peau'Lux Project. © INRA
Updated on 10/19/2018
Published on 01/09/2018

  . © INRA
© INRA

In Aveyron, Lacaune sheep are most known for producing the milk that becomes Roquefort cheese. This breed possesses a high-quality skin, which is currently unexploited because it has defects that make it undesirable to the leather industry. Since the 1980s, Spain has the main supplier of raw material to the French leather-goods industry.

Improving industry profitability

If Lacaune sheepskins were exploitable, industry players could profit from the value created. The French leather-goods industry could also benefit: if it were to use French suppliers, its products could qualify for the Made in France label and take full advantage of French artisanship.

Starting in 2016, a group of industry stakeholders came together with the goal of improving Lacaune lambskin. They had the help of various research units, including that of the GenPhySE Laboratory (Génétique, Physiologie et Systèmes d'Elevage) at INRA Occitanie-Toulouse.

Three strategies for improving lambskin quality

First, researchers attempted to use dietary changes to improve skin quality while maintaining animal growth. For example, the laboratory's NED (Nutrition et écosystème digestif) team studied the effects of the form of the fibre included in the ration and analysed the rumen microbiota and its fermentation products. These approaches can be used to promote animal digestive health. Second, livestock rearing conditions were changed to enhance animal welfare and skin quality. Third, studies were carried out downstream, at slaughterhouses and tanning facilities, to ensure that skins were treated properly, thus guaranteeing their quality.

Overall, these innovative strategies should help invigorate the local sheep industry. 

STUDY PARTNERS :

RAGT; Bigard; ADIV; INNOVTEC; ENISE; CRITT Catar; LCA (Laboratoire de Chimie Agro-Industrielle)—UMR 1010 INRA/INPT-ENSIACET; and Mégisserie Richard

On the subject of

Led by the company OVI Plateau Central and supported by the competitive clusters Agri Sud-Ouest Innovation and Viaméca, Peau'Lux has a budget of €4.8 million and receives €1.8 million in financial support from the French national government (i.e., the Single Interministerial Fund [FUI]) and from regional governments. FUI's goal is to promote applied research in France by supporting the development of new products and services that can be brought to market over the short or intermediate term.