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Chicken Feather Compost to Promote the Plant Growth Activity by Using Keratinolytic Bacteria

Siddharthan Nagarajan, Poongothai Eswaran, Raja Prabu Masilamani, Hemalatha Natarajan
Waste and biomass valorization 2018 v.9 no.4 pp. 531-538
Bacillus subtilis, agricultural land, bacteria, biodegradation, chickens, chicks, composts, culture media, enzyme activity, feathers, indole acetic acid, mung beans, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, phosphorus, physical properties, plant growth, potassium, seedlings, slow-release fertilizers, soil, tryptophan, wastes
The microbial degradation of feather represents an alternative for development of slow-release nitrogen fertilizers. The degraded product of chicken feathers could generate appropriate amount of tryptophan which can serve as the key source of IAA synthesis which is a major plant growth regulator. In this study we aimed to isolate keratinolytic bacteria from poultry feather waste dumping sites soil. The efficient keratinase producing bacteria was identified as Bacillus subtilis. The highest keratinase activity was obtained from B. subtilis. FW12 (81 ± 4.4 U/ml) strain compared to other isolates. The bacterial strain showed complete degradation of chick feather in broth culture at 5th day of incubation. This bacterial strain was used for chick feather compost preparation to further apply for plant growth studies. Different soil to compost ratios—0.25, 0.5, 1 and 1.5% were used. An increase in N, P, K content was obtained with increase in feather compost percentage in soil, the maximum seen with 1.5% of feather compost treatment. These characteristics increase the value of feather waste in agricultural field. However the feather compost had positive influence on the growth of green gram seedlings when at concentrations less than 1%. The study suggests that feather compost supports plant growth only after complete degradation and maturation whereas composts having undegraded feather remnants may not support the physical properties of the soil and thereby the plant growth.