Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 179, Issue 4, pp 258–265 | Cite as

Characterization of a new keratinolytic bacterium that completely degrades native feather keratin

  • Alessandro Riffel
  • Françoise Lucas
  • Philipp Heeb
  • Adriano BrandelliEmail author
Original Paper


A novel feather-degrading microorganism was isolated from poultry waste, producing a high keratinolytic activity when cultured on broth containing native feather. Complete feather degradation was achieved during cultivation. The bacterium presents potential use for biotechnological processes involving keratin hydrolysis. Chryseobacterium sp. strain kr6 was identified based on morphological and biochemical tests and 16S rRNA sequencing. The bacterium presented optimum growth at pH 8.0 and 30 °C; under these conditions, maximum feather-degrading activity was also achieved. Maximum keratinase production was reached at 25 °C, while concentration of soluble protein was similar at both 25 and 30 °C. Reduction of disulfide bridges was also observed, increasing with cultivation time. The keratinase of strain kr6 was active on azokeratin and azocasein as substrates, and presented optimum pH and temperature of 7.5 and 55 °C, respectively. The keratinase activity was inhibited by 1,10-phenanthroline, EDTA, Hg2+, and Cu2+ and stimulated by Ca2+.


Keratin Proteolysis Poultry waste Chicken feather Bacteria 



A.R. is the recipient of a M.Sc. fellowship from CNPq. A.B. is Research Fellow of CNPq, Brazil. F.L. P.H. acknowledges the Fondation de Famille Sandoz for financing his research (subsidy to P. Heeb). We thank Jitka Lipka for running our samples at the sequencing facility of the Institute of Ecology (University of Lausanne).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Riffel
    • 1
  • Françoise Lucas
    • 2
  • Philipp Heeb
    • 2
  • Adriano Brandelli
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciência de Alimentos, ICTAUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Institut d'EcologieUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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