Technological watch

Enhanced Biodegradability in Soil of Chicken Feather by Steam Explosion for Potential Application in Agricultural Biodegradable Plastics

Feather waste is a major issue from an economic and environmental point of view. Even though there are already routes for the valorisation of feathers into fertilisers and feather meal, these are considered to have low added value. For more attractive applications, for example in agricultural biodegradable plastics, higher and faster degradability in soil is required. To face this challenge alternative approaches to accelerate biodegradation and disintegration processes are needed. In this context, steam explosion appears as an effective technology to modify the structure of feather and improve its soil degradability. In this work, chicken feathers were treated by steam explosion and the effect of treatment on their structure and physico-chemical and thermal properties were evaluated. Finally, the effect of the process conditions on the disintegration and biodegradation in soil of feathers was also investigated, finding an increased degradation in soil of steam explosion treated feathers. These results open up the possibilities of using feather waste as a component for environmentally friendly agricultural bioplastics that can be degraded in-situ in soil.

Publication date: 08/09/2023

Author: Julen Vadillo

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym15183701

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.