Isolation and Characterization of Feather Keratin-Degrading Bacteria and Plant Growth-Promoting Activity of Feather Hydrolysate

우모 케라틴 분해세균의 분리, 특성 및 우모 분해산물의 식물 생육촉진 효과

  • Jeong, Jin-Ha (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University) ;
  • Lee, Na-Ri (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University) ;
  • Kim, Jeong-Do (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University) ;
  • Jeon, Young-Dong (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University) ;
  • Park, Ki-Hyun (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University) ;
  • Oh, Dong-Joo (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University) ;
  • Lee, Chung-Yeol (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University) ;
  • Son, Hong-Joo (College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Pusan National University)
  • 정진하 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학) ;
  • 이나리 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학) ;
  • 김정도 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학) ;
  • 전영동 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학) ;
  • 박기현 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학) ;
  • 오동주 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학) ;
  • 이충열 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학) ;
  • 손홍주 (부산대학교 생명자원과학대학)
  • Received : 2010.09.07
  • Accepted : 2010.10.11
  • Published : 2010.10.31


This study was conducted to isolate and characterize a novel feather-degrading bacterium producing keratinase activity. A strain K9 was isolated from soil at poultry farm and identified as Xanthomonas sp. K9 by phenotypic characters and 16S rRNA gene analysis. The cultural conditions for the keratinase production were 0.3% fructose, 0.1% gelatin, 0.04% $K_2HPO_4$, 0.06% $KH_2PO_4$, 0.05% NaCl and 0.01% $FeSO_4$ with an initial pH 8.0 at $30^{\circ}C$ and 200 rpm. In an optimized medium containing 0.1% chicken feather, production yield of keratinase was approximately 8-fold higher than the yield in basal medium. The strain K9 effectively degraded chicken feather meal (67%) and duck feather (54%), whereas human nail and human hair showed relatively low degradation rates (13-22%). Total free amino acid concentration in the cell-free supernatant was about 25.799 mg/l. Feather hydrolysate produced by the strain K9 stimulated growth of red pepper, indicating Xanthomonas sp. K9 could be not only used to increase the nutritional value of chicken feather but also a potential candidate for the development of natural fertilizer applicable to crop plant soil.




  1. Atalo, K., Gashe, B. A., 1993, Protease production by a thermophilic Bacillus species (P-001A) which degrades various kinds of fibrous proteins, Biotechnol. Lett., 15, 1151-1156.
  2. Bressollier, P., Letorneau, F., Urdaci, M., Verneuil, B., 1999, Purification and characterization of a keratinolytic serine proteinase from Streptomyces albidoflavus, Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 65, 2570-2576.
  3. De Toni, C. H., Richter, M. F., Chagas, J. R., Henriques, J. A. P., Termignoni, C., 2002, Purification and characterization of an alkaline serine endopeptidase from a feather-degrading Xanthomonas maltophilia strain, Can. J. Microbiol., 48, 342-348.
  4. El-Naghy, M. A., El-Ktatny, M. S., Fadl-Allah, E. M., Nazeer, W. W., 1998, Degradation of chicken feathers by Chrysosporium georgiae, Mycopathologia, 143, 77-84.
  5. Fisher, S. H., Sonenshein, A. L., 1991, Control of carbon and nitrogen metabolism in Bacillus subtilis, Annu. Rev. Microbiol., 45, 107-135.
  6. Gerhardt, P., Murray, R. G. E., Costilow, R. N., Wester, E. W., 1981, Manual of methods for general bacteriology, American Society for Microbiology, New York, 5-61.
  7. Hadas, A., Kautsky, L., 1994, Feather meal, a semi-slow release nitrogen fertilizer for organic farm, Fertilizer Res., 38, 165-170.
  8. Lane, D. J., 1991, 16S/23S rRNA sequencing, in: Stackebrandt, E., Goodfellow, M. (eds.), Nucleic acid techniques in bacterial systematics, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 115-175.
  9. Nustorova, M., Braikova, D., Gousterova, A., Vasileva-Tonkova, E., Nedkov, P., 2005, Chemical, microbiological and plant analysis of soil fertilized with alkaline hydrolysate of sheep's wool waste, World J. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 22, 383-390.
  10. Onifade, A. A., Al-Sane, N. A., Al-Musallam, A. A., Al-Zarban, S., 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. Technol., 66, 1-11.
  11. Papadoulos, M. C., Ketelaars, E. H., 1986, Effects of processing time and moisture content on amino acid composition and nitrogen characteristics of feather meal, Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 14, 279-290.
  12. Riffel, A., Lucas, F., Heeb, P., Brandelli, A., 2003, Characterization of a new keratinolytic bacterium that completely degrades native feather keratin, Arch. Microbiol., 179, 258-265
  13. Rozs, M., Manczinger, L., Vagvolgyi, C., Kevei, F., Hochkoeppler, A., Rodriguez, A. G. V., 2001, Fermentation characteristics and secretion of proteases of a new keratinolytic strain of Bacillus licheniformis, Biotechnol. Lett., 23, 1925-1929.
  14. Vesela, M., Friedrich, J., 2009, Amino acid and soluble protein cocktail from waste keratin hydrolysed by a fungal keratinase of Paecilomyces marquandii, Biotechnol. Bioproc. Eng., 14, 84-90.
  15. Wang, H., Guo, Y., Shih, J. C. H., 2008, Effects of dietary supplementation of keratinase on growth performance, nitrogen retention and intestinal morphology of broiler chickens fed diets with soybean and cottonseed meals, Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 140, 376-384.
  16. Wawrzkiewicz, K., Lobarzewski, J., Wolski, T., 1987, Intracellular keratinase of Trichophton gallinae, J. Med. Vet. Mycol., 25, 261-268.
  17. Werlang, P. O., Brandelli, A., 2005, Characterization of a novel feather-degrading Bacillus sp. strain, Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol., 120, 71-79.
  18. Yamamura, S., Morita, Y., Hasan, Q., Rao, S. R., Murakami, Y., Yokoyama, K., Tamiya, E., 2002, Characterization of a new keratin-degrading bacterium isolated from deer fur, J. Biosci. Bioeng., 93, 595-600.

Cited by

  1. Development and Performance of Cutting and Crushing Instrument of Hair to Prevent Blocking U-trap in Home Drainage System vol.35, pp.6, 2013,