Municipal solid waste and green chemistry

Biological treatment of chicken feather waste for improved biogas production

Gergely Forgács , Saeid Alinezhad , Amir Mirabdollah , Elisabeth Feuk-Lagerstedt , Ilona Sárvári Horváth


Received November 30, 2010,Revised March 10, 2011, Accepted , Available online

Volume 23,2011,Pages 1747-1753

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 Nm3/kg dry feathers (i.e., 0.4 Nm3/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 Nm3/kg dry feathers. Feather hydrolyzates treated with the wild type B. megaterium produced 0.21 Nm3 CH4/kg dry feathers as maximum yield.

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