Biological treatment of chicken feather waste for improved biogas production
Journal article, 2011

A two-stage system was developed which combines the biological degradation of keratin-rich waste with the production of biogas. Chicken feather waste was treated biologically with a recombinant Bacillus megaterium strain showing keratinase activity prior to biogas production. Chopped, autoclaved chicken feathers (4%, W/V) were completely degraded, resulting in a yellowish fermentation broth with a level of 0.51 mg/mL soluble proteins after 8 days of cultivation of the recombinant strain. During the subsequent anaerobic batch digestion experiments, methane production of 0.35 Nm(3)/kg dry feathers (i.e., 0.4 Nm(3)/kg volatile solids of feathers), corresponding to 80% of the theoretical value on proteins, was achieved from the feather hydrolyzates, independently of the pre-hydrolysis time period of 1, 2 or 8 days. Cultivation with a native keratinase producing strain, Bacillus licheniformis resulted in only 0.25 mg/mL soluble proteins in the feather hydrolyzate, which then was digested achieving a maximum accumulated methane production of 0.31 Nm(3)/kg dry feathers. Feather hydrolyzates treated with the wild type B. megaterium produced 0.21 Nm(3) CH(4)/kg dry feathers as maximum yield.


poultry slaughterhouse waste

feather waste



Bacillus licheniformis


Bacillus megaterium



gene expression




anaerobic digestion


Gergely Forgács

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemical Reaction Engineering

S. Alinezhad

University of Borås

A. Mirabdollah

University of Borås

E. Feuk-Lagerstedt

University of Borås

I. S. Horvath

University of Borås

Journal of Environmental Sciences

1001-0742 (ISSN)

Vol. 23 10 1747-1753

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering



More information

Latest update

3/8/2018 9