Degradation of keratin waste products by Kocuria rosea
Chandni Anand, Mansi Mehta, Gaurav Shah
Feathers are rich in keratin which is an insoluble protein and are introduced naturally into the environment as a waste product in large quantities worldwide. These feathers are mechanically or chemically treated to form feather meal, a dietry protein supplement for animals. Alternatively, keratin can be biodegraded by some microorganisms. The keratinase enzyme produced can be used in dehairing in leather industry. In the present study a strain of Kocuria rosea was used to degrade feathers at varying pH and temperature. This gram positive spherical shaped bacterium degraded feather within 5 days of incubation. The optimum pH and temperature for feather degradation and keratinase secretion was at 8.5 and 37° C. Feather degradation reached upto 88.62 % and the enzymatic activity was found to be 81.8 U/mL.