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Animal Hair and Fibers Identification

With a network of laboratories covering the world’s major cashmere production and processing areas, SGS conducts fiber identification tests to ensure batches only include the declared fibers.

By detecting the substitution of cashmere with wool or other fibers, we help to preserve cashmere’s high quality and value. Our animal hair identification services verify the species of the fibers in question, identifying which fibers from animals are present in furs and fiber blends. We perform fiber content analysis using both optical and scanning electron microscope (SEM) methods. We also offer a state-of-the-art testing service for species identification of animals by Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization - Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF) Mass Spectrometry: a procedure referred to as SIAM.

By using SIAM, we can determine species from the slightest traces of animal hair, claw and nail – without depending on DNA or RNA. In addition, SIAM allows for the identification of morphologically damaged fibers that are usually unidentifiable by using microscopic methods.

To maintain consistency and accuracy in our cashmere testing, we use industry-accepted measurement methods and provide our operatives with standardized training based on our traceable animal and fiber library. Our centralized facility in the UK – accredited by the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI) – has developed the library as follows:

  • Traceable animal library – we collect fibers direct from known species, allowing us to certify from which animal particular fibers originate
  • Traceable fiber library – we have built a database of traceable animal fibers, based on the known animals within the traceable animal library. Using images from both SEM and optical microscope methods, we measure each fiber image for:
    • Mean fiber diameter
    • Scale ratio (measured as scale length to diameter)
    • Scale height (thickness – SEM images only)
    • Scale angle

Using our fiber identification and testing services can help verify the source of the fibers and therefore maintain quality and value. Get in touch with SGS now to find out more.

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