The aim of this study was to investigate environmental conditions affecting chicken feather degradation and keratinolytic enzyme production by Bacillus megaterium F7-1, a feather-degrading mesophilic bacterium. B. megaterium F7-1 degraded whole chicken feather completely within 7 days. The bacterium grew with an optimum at pH 7.0-11.0 and 25-40 °C, where maximum keratinolytic activity was also observed. The production of keratinolytic enzyme by B. megaterium F7-1 was inducible with feather. Keratinolytic enzyme production by B. megaterium F7-1 at 0.6% (w/v) skim milk was 468 U/ml, which was about 9.4-fold higher than that without skim milk. The amount of keratinolytic enzyme production depended on feather concentrations. The degradation rate of autoclaved chicken feathers by cell-free culture supernatant was 26% after 24 h of incubation, but the degradation of untreated chicken feathers was unsuccessful. B. megaterium F7-1 effectively degraded feather meal, duck feather and human nail, whereas human hair and sheep wool showed relatively low degradation rates. B. megaterium F7-1 presented high keratinolytic activity and was very effective in feather degradation, providing potential use for biotechnological processes of keratin hydrolysis. © 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Park, G. T., & Son, H. J. (2009). Keratinolytic activity of Bacillus megaterium F7-1, a feather-degrading mesophilic bacterium. Microbiological Research, 164(4), 478–485. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micres.2007.02.004