Biological Pretreatment of Chicken Feather and Biogas Production from Total Broth


Chicken feathers are available in large quantities around the world causing environmental challenges. The feathers are composed of keratin that is a recalcitrant protein and is hard to degrade. In this work, chicken feathers were aerobically pretreated for 2–8 days at total solid concentrations of 5, 10, and 20 % by Bacillus sp. C4, a bacterium that produces both α- and β-keratinases. Then, the liquid fraction (feather hydrolysate) as well as the total broth (liquid and solid fraction of pretreated feathers) was used as substrates for biogas production using anaerobic sludge or bacteria granules as inoculum. The biological pretreatment of feather waste was productive; about 75 % of feather was converted to soluble crude protein after 8 days of degradation at initial feather concentration of 5 %. Bacteria granules performed better during anaerobic digestion of untreated feathers, resulting in approximately two times more methane yield (i.e., 199 mlCH4/gVS compared to 105 mlCH4/gVS when sludge was used). Pretreatment improved methane yield by 292 and 105 % when sludge and granules were used on the hydrolysate. Bacteria granules worked effectively on the total broth, yielded 445 mlCH4/gVS methane, which is 124 % more than that obtained with the same type of inoculum from untreated feather.

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The authors greatly acknowledge Håkantorp Slakteri AB, Genomfatrsvägen, Sweden for supplying the chicken feathers and Alex Osagie Osadolor for helpful discussion.

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Correspondence to Regina J. Patinvoh.

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Patinvoh, R.J., Feuk-Lagerstedt, E., Lundin, M. et al. Biological Pretreatment of Chicken Feather and Biogas Production from Total Broth. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 180, 1401–1415 (2016).

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  • Chicken feather
  • Pretreatment
  • Bacillus substilis strain
  • Keratinase
  • Biogas production
  • Mesophilic
  • Hydrolysate
  • Total broth
  • Bacteria granules