Versatility and commercial status of microbial keratinases: a review

  • Ruchi Sharma
  • Sunita Devi
review paper


The world’s increasing population and shortage of food and feed is creating an urgently for us to look for new protein sources from waste products like keratinous waste. Poor management of these wastes has made them one of the major recalcitrant pollutants in nature. Microbial keratinases offers an economic and eco-friendly alternative for degrading and recycling keratinous waste into valuable byproducts. Diverse groups of microorganisms viz., bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes have the ability to degrade recalcitrant keratin by producing keratinase enzyme. Microbial keratinases exhibits great diversity in its biochemical properties with respect to activity and stability in various pH and temperature ranges as well as in the range of recalcitrant proteins it degrades like those present in feathers, hairs, nails, hooves etc. Owing to diverse properties and multifarious biotechnological implications, keratinases can be considered as promising biocatalysts for preparation of animal nutrients, protein supplements, leather processing, fiber modification, detergent formulation, feather meal processing for feed and fertilizer, the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and biomedical industries, and waste management. This review article presents an overview of keratin structure and composition, mechanism of microbial keratinolysis, diversity of keratinolytic microorganisms, and their potential applications in various fields.


Keratin Microbial keratinase Feather meal Waste management Degradation Chicken feathers 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Basic SciencesDr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and ForestryNauni, SolanIndia

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