Fluorescence-based Quantification of Bioactive Keratin Peptides from Feathers for Optimizing Large-scale Anaerobic Fermentation and Purification


The extremely thermophilic eubacterium Fervidobacterium islandicum AW-1 produces low molecular weight (LMW; < 1 kDa) keratin peptides (KPs) from poultry feathers at 70°C. However, detection and quantification of feather hydrolysate-derived peptides is needed for optimizing fermentation and down-stream processes. Herein, we developed a large-scale fermentation and purification of skin anti-aging LMW KPs from recalcitrant feathers using fluorescence-based quantification of N-terminal prolinecontaining KPs derivatized with 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid to yield fluorescent adducts. Fluorescent products were correlated with bioactive KP concentrations in keratin fractions and cosmetic formulations. Subsequent anaerobic fermentative keratinolysis and large-scale purification achieved 4.4 g/L LMW KPs from 8 g/L native feathers in a 5 L batch bioreactor, generating 0.8 g/L purified MMP-1 suppressive KPs (yield = 1.2%). This demonstrated the feasibility of industrial-scale anaerobic feather digestion and purification of LMW KPs to produce skin anti-aging peptides from keratin hydrolysates in a more environmentally sustainable manner.

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Jin, H., Park, S.Y., Kim, J. et al. Fluorescence-based Quantification of Bioactive Keratin Peptides from Feathers for Optimizing Large-scale Anaerobic Fermentation and Purification. Biotechnol Bioproc E 24, 240–249 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12257-018-0400-8

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  • Fervidobacterium islandicum
  • LMW keratin peptide
  • anaerobic digestion
  • large-scale purification
  • skin anti-aging