Pretreatment of chicken feather waste for improved biogas production

G Forgacs, Magnus Lundin, Mohammad J. Taherzadeh, Ilona Sárvári Horváth

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37 Citations (SciVal)


This study deals with the utilization of chicken feather waste as a substrate for anaerobic digestion and improving biogas production by degradation of the compact structure of the feather keratin. In order to increase the digestibility of the feather, different pretreatments were investigated, including thermal pretreatment at 120 °C for 10 min, enzymatic hydrolysis with an alkaline endopeptidase [0.53–2.66 mL/g volatile solids (VS) feathers] for 0, 2, or 24 h at 55 °C, as well as a combination of these pretreatments. The effects of the treatments were then evaluated by anaerobic batch digestion assays at 55 °C. The enzymatic pretreatment increased the methane yield to 0.40 Nm3/kg VSadded, which is 122 % improvement compared to the yield of the untreated feathers. The other treatment conditions were less effective, increasing the methane yield by 11–50 %. The long-term effects of anaerobic digestion of feathers were examined by co-digestion of the feather with organic fraction of municipal solid waste performed with and without the addition of enzyme. When enzyme was added together with the feed, CH4 yield of 0.485 Nm3/kg VS−1 d−1 was achieved together with a stable reactor performance, while in the control reactor, a decrease in methane production, together with accumulation of undegraded feather, was observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2016-2028
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnology and Applied Biochemistry
Issue number7
Early online date29 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • anaerobic digestion
  • feather waste
  • co-digestion
  • municipal solid waste
  • pretreatment


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