Keratin is a fibrous and recalcitrant structural protein and is the third most abundant polymer in nature after cellulose and chitin. A wide spectrum of animals have developed a diversity of keratins used as structural parts of their outer protection which make up major component of feathers, hair, horns, hooves, cloves, nails etc. Keratin-laden tissues represents a significant challenge for the animal rendering industry. For example, feathers consist of more than 90% keratin and represent a huge waste product of the poultry industry, where most ends up in landfills or is being burned.
ThermoK will address the application of selected anaerobic thermophilic bacteria which can be optimised for keratin-laden waste material degradation as well as the understanding of the enzyme activities within the bacterial species responsible for this degradation. This will lead to improved control and understanding of the overall keratin-degrading process and its improvement and efficiency.
This project will contribute to the designing of more sustainable and resilient food systems and contribute to the vision of a circular economy by using waste products and converting them to other valuable commercial products including peptides, amino acids, fish feed and agricultural fertilisers.
*At the time of the proposal. Please consider this data as an accurate estimate; it may vary during the project’s lifespan.
Total costs include in kind contribution by grant holders and can therefore be higher than the total requested funding.