Feathers are a waste product of the poultry industry and are considered a major pollutant of the environment. Soil associated with poultry farms is a rich source of indigenous bacteria that are involved in biodegradation of keratin of the feathers of Gallus gallus domesticus. The present study was designed to understand the role of microbes in the degradation of a feather’s keratin and its possible utilization as a bio-protein for plants. In our studies, Keratinolytic activity was high at 37-45 ℃ and at 7.5-9.5 pH. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was identified by 16S rRNA sequencing as the most active keratinolytic strain. At 37 ℃ and pH 9.0 the protein content was 5.67mg/ml, while at 45 ℃ and pH 7 the protein content from bacterial isolate IM6 was 6.52 mg/ml. However, all other ten bacterial isolates (IM1, IM2, IM3, IM4, IM5, IM7, IM8, IM9, IM10, IM11) also showed degradation potential. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) was performed to confirm the presence of strong Amide-A, Amide-III, and disulfide bonds. In the plant microbial interaction experiments on the seed of Triticum aestivum and Zea mays, the isolates IM2 and IM6 were observed to increase the root, shoot and plant lengths as compared to all other bacterial isolates. The future implication of this study shows the importance of keratin degrading bacteria for the degradation and recycling of poultry feather waste, and introducing it as a value-added product for use in fertilizers, while also removing poultry waste from the environment and making the environment healthy for other living beings.

Article History

Received: Apr 17, 2022; Accepted: Aug 17, 2023; Published: Dec 31 2023