Keratinolytic microorganisms have the capacity to biosynthesize particular keratinases and determine their prospective application in poultry waste management. Hence, the objective of this study was to utilize keratinolytic microbes for the degradation of poultry waste. For this purpose, the feathers of common ostrich (Struthio camelus) were collected, scattered along the surrounding dry soil, from a private ostrich farm in Kasur, Pakistan. Bacteria were isolated by using culture enrichment techniques and screened for their proteolytic activity on skim milk agar. The isolates were characterized clonially, morphologically, and biochemically and labeled as SNO1, SNO2, and SNO3, respectively. The effects of varied pH and temperatures were recorded on bacterial growth and feather degradation. It was noticed that the bacterial cell densities and feather degradation were high at 50˚C and pH 8.0, as compared to the rest of the culture conditions. Visual observations were made using a stereomicroscope. The maximum feather degradation in the form of white powdery mass was noticed at fourth (4th) week. The protein content of Struthio camelus feathers was determined as 6.5 mg/100 ml after degradation. Taken together, the authors concluded that the isolated strains were capable of feather degradation and can be used in poultry waste management.
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University of the Punjab