Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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collagen

The principal constituent of the fiber-network layer of hides and skins used in producing leather. Collagen is organized in long, wavy bundles which vary in diameter from abut one to twenty microns. These bundles branch in a complex and random manner to form a three dimensional network upon which many of the qualities of leather depend, and it is this complex network of fibers which provides leather with its unique character.

Collagen is a protein of the scleroprotein class, which is the most important constituent of the connective tissue of an animal. The molecules (14 X 2900 Å) appear to comprise a triple helix of linear polypeptide strands, composed of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. When collagen is boiled in water, the strands separate and undergo partial hydrolysis, yielding gelatin. (291 , 363 )




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