Biodegradation Of White Chicken Feather Waste Pollutants By Bacteria

IJEP 41(2): 218-223 : Vol. 41 Issue. 2 (February 2021)

Niraj Kumar1 and Shardendu2*

1. Patna University, Laboratory of Environment and Biotechnology, Department of Biochemistry, Patna – 800 005, Bihar, India
2. Patna University, Laboratory of Environment and Biotechnology, Department of Botany, Patna – 800 005,
Bihar, India


Biodegradation of white chicken feather by isolated keratinolytic bacteria, like NKR1-NKR9 was most effective. The bacterial strain Bacillus licheniformis DAS-2-NKR6 was more effective for degradation of chicken feathers. The other identified bacterial strain NKR1 grew very well till 550C but its keratinolytic activity was restricted to 460C. NKR6 bacterial strain was also grew well but it produces peptidase only between 20-450C. The keratinase enzyme was purified by ammonium sulphate precipitation. The highest purification factor of our strain was 3.7-fold for strain NKR-6 and the final yield was 17.6%. Specific activity of enzyme had 34.02 U/mg where feather keratin act as substrate. SDS-PAGE was used for the determination of molecular weight of purified enzyme. Purified enzyme showed single band with molecular wt. of 43 kDa whereas crude enzyme showed multiple bands, compared with the protein marker range 14-80 kDa.


Bacillus licheniformis DAS-2-NKR6, SDS-PAGE, chicken feathers, Biodegradation


  1. Mebrouk, M.E.M. 2008. Feather degradation by new keratinolytic Streptomyces sp. MS-2. World J. Microbiol. Biotech., 24:2331-2338.
  2. Ichida, J.M. and E.H. Brutt. 2001. Bacteria useful for degrading keratin. United States patent no. 6, 214,576 B1. pp 7.
  3. Tapia, D.M.T. and J. Contiero. 2004. Production and partial characterization of keratinase produced by a microorganism isolated from poultry processing plant wastewater. African J. Biotech., 7(3):296-300.
  4. Scott, J.A. and W.A. Untereiner. 2004. Determination of keratin degradation by fungi using keratin azure. Medical Mycol., 42:239-246.
  5. Joshi, S.G., et al. 2009. Isolation, identification and characterization of a feather degrading bacterium. Int. J. Poultry Sci., 6(9).
  6. Anbu, P., et al. 2008. Extracellular keratinase from Trichophyton sp. HA-2 isolated from feather dumping soil. Int. Biodeterioration Biodegradation. 62:287-292.
  7. Onifade, A.A., et al. 1998. Potentials for biotechnological applications of keratin-degrading microorganisms and their enzymes for nutritional improvement of feathers and other keratins as livestock feed resources. Biores. Tech., 66:1-11.
  8. Daroit, D. J., A. P. F. Correda and A. Brandelli. 2010. Production of keratinolytic proteases through bio-conversion of feather meal by the Amazonian Bacillus sp. pp 45.
  9. Gupta, R., et al. 2002. An overview on fermentation, downstream processing and properties of microbial alkaline proteases. Appl. Microbiol. Biotech., 60:381-395.
  10. Rao, M.B., et al. 1998. Molecular and biotechnological aspects of microbial proteases. Microbiol. Molecular Biol. Reviews. 62:597-635.
  11. Fakhfakh-Zuari, N., et al. 2010. A novel serine-metallo keratinase from a newly isolated Bacillus pumillus A1 grown on chicken feather meal, biochemical and molecular characterization. Appl. Biochem. Biotech., 162:329-344.
  12. Kunst, F. and G. Rapoport. 1995. Salt stress is an environmental signal affecting degradative enzyme synthesis in Bacillus subtilis. J. Bacteriol., DOI: 10.112/jb.177.9.2403-2407.
  13. Tripti, K. and Shardendu. 2016. pH modulates arsenic toxicity in Bacillus licheniformis DAS-2. Ecotoxicol. Env. Safety. 130:240-247.
  14. Williams, C.M., et al. 1990. Isolation identification and characterization of feather-degrading bacterium. Appl. Env. Microbiol., 56(6):1509-1515.
  15. Lin, X., et al. 1999. Selection and characterization of feather degradaing bacteria from canola meal compost. J. Ind. Microbiol. Biotech., 23:149-153.
  16. Manczinger, L., et al. 2003. Isolation and characterization of a new keratinolytic Bacillus licheniformis strain. World J. Microbiol. Biotech., 19:35-39.
  17. Suntornsuk, W. and L. Suntornsuk. 2003. Feather degradation by Bacillus sp. FK 46 in submerged cultivation. Biores. Tech., 86(3):239-243.
  18. Zerdani, I., M. Faid and A. Malki. 2004. Feather wastes digestion by new isolated strains Bacillus sp. in Morocco. African J. Biotech., 3:67-70.
  19. Riessen, S. and G. Antranikian. 2001. Isolation of Thermoanaerobacter keratinophilus sp. nov., a novel thermophilic, anaerobic bacterium with keratinolytic activity. Extremophiles. 5:399-408.
  20. Riffel, A., et al. 2003. Characterization of a new keratinolytic bacterium that completely degrades native feather keratin. Archives Microbiol., 179:258-265.
  21. Sangali, S. and A. Brandelli. 2000. Feather keratin hydrolysis by a Vibrio sp. strain kr2. J. Appl. Microbiol., 89:735-743.
  22. Lin, X., et al. 1992. Purification and characterization of a keratinase from a feather degrading Bacillus licheniforms strains. Appl. Env. Microbiol., 58:3271-3275.
  23. Cheng, S.W., et al. 1995. Production and characterization of keratinase of a feather-degrading Bacillus licheniformis PWD-1. Biosci. Biotech. Biochem., 59:2239-2243.
  24. Ferrareze, P.A.G., A.P.F. Correa and A. Brandelli. 2016. Purification and characterization of a kerati-nolytic protease produced by probiotic Bacillus subtilis. Biocatalysis Agric. Biotech., 7(C):102-109.
  25. Brandelli, A., D.J. Daroit and A. Riffel. 2010. Biochemical features of microbiol keratinases and their production and application. Appl. Microbiol. Biotech., 85:1735-1750.
  26. Brandelli, A., L. Sala and S.J. Kalil. 2015. Microbial enzymes for bioconversion of a poultry waste into added value products. Food Res. Int., 73:3-12.
  27. Hlotz, J.D. 1997. Bergey’s manual of determinative bacteriology. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.
  28. Macfaddin, J.F. 2000. Biochemical tests for identification of medical bacteria (3rd edn). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.
  29. Scopes, R. K. 1994. Protein purification : Principles and practice. In Advanced texts in chemistry. Springer.
  30. Luemmli, U.K. 1970. Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4. Nature. 227:680-685.
  31. Atalo, K. and B.A. Gashe. 1993. Protease production by a thermophilic Bacillus species (P-001A) which degrades various kinds of fibrous proteins. Biotech. Letters. 15:1151–1156.
  32. Kim, et al. 2001. Feather-degrading Bacillus species from poultry waste. Process Biochem., 37(3): 287-291.
  33. Lin, X., et al. 1992. Purification and characterization of a keratinase from a feather-degrading Bacillus licheniformis strain. Appl. Env. Microbiol., 58: 3271-3275.