Efficient Green Method to Process Poultry Feather into Hydrolysable Protein


Chemicals - Inorganic
Foods - Ingredients
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Current extraction methods requires treatment that is not only non-environmental friendly but also destroys some of the nutrients in the keratin.

The current state of the art for extracting protein from feather meal are through physical treatment involving high temperature and/or high-pressure steam to hydrolyze the feathers for animal feed production. However, the nutritional value of such feather meal is low because excess thermal degradation denatures certain amino acids such as lysine and tryptophan. In addition, high temperature cause the formation of non-nutritive amino acids such as lysinoalanine. 

Chemical treatment is also commonly used to hydrolyze feathers. For example, mercapto-acetate and sodium tetrathionate can dissolve feathers completely but they are highly toxic. Biological treatment involves application of keratinolytic microorganisms and their enzymes (keratinase) for feathers hydrolysis. However, application in industry is limited because it is a time-consuming process.

This technology is an efficient extraction method which uses less harsh chemicals and optimizes the yield of keratin within a relatively short period of time. This method has been tested with chicken feathers recovering amino acids and keratin. The extracted compound derived could also serve as an alternative protein for fish and pet feed.

The technology provider is keen to work with a commercial partner who would be interested in using this technology for commercialization or partners who like to formulate this upcycled protein into pet and animal feed. The partner could also help in running some trials and eventually license this technology.


This technology uses non-conventional feather heat treatment that leads to efficient and targeted heating. This method only requires a small amount of chemical to break down the disulfide bonds. This proposed extraction method is more efficient than conventional treatments, disrupting the feather structure, increasing the feathers solubilization and producing protein hydrolysate. In addition, the whole extraction process can occur within 30 min.

This extraction method has the following characteristics:
1.    Uses non-harsh chemicals which can be easily removed by neutralization to produce non-harmful by-products.
2.    Uses mild extraction temperature.



As this extraction technology is convenient and scalable, hydrolysable protein can be mass extracted from poultry feathers efficiently. Therefore, the feather meal can be transformed into digestible protein for pet, aquaculture and animal feed. In addition, the extracted protein can be used as amino acid supplements in pet feed.

Market Trends & Opportunities

Animal Feed Protein Ingredients Market size is set to surpass USD 220 Billion by 2026, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc. At the same time, poultry processing industry in Asia is booming, thereby producing tonnage of waste materials such as poultry feathers. Being able to exploit the nutritional values of feather meal by using better and more sustainable technologies will be key to benefiting from such valuable waste.

This extraction method could help poultry farmers recycle feather wastes from the poultry processing sector and the extracted protein can potentially be used as a protein source in the animal feed industry. This would thereby contribute to the positioning of Singapore as a leader in the development of sustainable technologies for poultry farming.


Unique Value Proposition

This platform has the following advantages :

  1. Environmentally friendly extraction method.
  2. Improved essential protein yield and extraction yield.
  3. Time and cost effective.
  4. Can serve as a versatile platform for treating any other poultry feathers. 
  5. Easily scalable.


The success of this method will valorise poultry wastes, ensure effective protein extraction from feather meal, and elevate the sustainability of poultry farms by reducing the pollution of feathers and transferring them into animal feed.

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