Identification of the animal source of leather is difficult using traditional methods, including microscopic observation and PCR. In the present study, a LC-MS method was developed for detecting interspecies differences in the amino acid sequence of type I collagen, which is a major component of leather, among six animals (cattle, horse, pig, sheep, goat, and deer). After a dechroming procedure and trypsin digestion, six tryptic peptides of type I collagen were monitored by LC-MS in multiple reaction monitoring mode for the animal source identification using the patterns of the presence or absence of the marker peptides. We analyzed commercial leathers from various production areas using this method, and found some leathers in which the commercial label disagreed with the identified animal source. Our method enabled rapid and simple leather certification and could be applied to other animals whether or not their collagen sequences are available in public databases.
Keywords: collagen; leather; mass spectrometry; scanning electron microscopy; species identification.