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Title: Valorization of chicken feathers using aqueous solutions of ionic liquids
Author: Polesca, Cariny
Passos, Helena
Neves, Bruno M.
Coutinho, João A. P.
Freire, Mara G.
Issue Date: 19-Jan-2023
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Abstract: The poultry-processing industry generates large quantities of waste rich in keratin, a fibrous protein representing around 90 wt % of chicken feathers, which is currently disposed of in landfilling or incinerated. Keratin is commonly recognized as a renewable biopolymer resource used for biomaterials preparation (e.g., films and hydrogels) with interest for biomedical applications. Even though research on keratin recovery from chicken feathers started many years ago, very few keratin materials from this source have been developed due to the low keratin solubility in most common solvents and poor protein recovery yield. Although ionic liquids (ILs) have been reported as alternative solvents with high dissolution capability for several biopolymers, keratin recovery from chicken feathers using aqueous solutions of ILs was not investigated up to date. Considering the Green Chemistry Principles (especially the first one: zero waste) and Circular Economy concepts, in this work, we show that chicken feathers can be effectively dissolved in an aqueous solution of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (80 wt %), further allowing the keratin recovery and preparation of keratin biofilms. The keratin recovery from the IL aqueous solution was optimized considering the coagulant type, solution:coagulant weight ratio, temperature, and time, being the coagulant type the variable with higher influence in the recovery process. Under the best conditions (ethanol, 1:2 w/w, 5 °C, and 1 h), 90 wt % of keratin was recovered. The IL recovery and reuse were also evaluated, still allowing 82 wt % of recovery yield at the end of the third cycle. The recovered keratin was characterized, confirming the required physicochemical properties. A keratin film was finally prepared and characterized through cell viability, oxidative stress and wound healing assays, opening the path for the use of keratin films in biomedical applications.
Peer review: yes
ISSN: 1463-9262
Publisher Version:
Appears in Collections:CICECO - Artigos
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