feathers conversion bioplasticCongratulations to our PhD student Elena Pulidori for her publication entitled: “One-Pot Process: Microwave-Assisted Keratin Extraction and Direct Electrospinning to Obtain Keratin-Based Bioplastic”. In this study it is proposed an efficient, non-expensive, and green process to recover keratin from industrial wastes (i.e., poultry feathers), which can be integrated in a one-pot process wherein raw keratin extract is directly used in electrospinning process (ES) to produce bioplastics, which are attractive for technological applications (e.g., bio packaging, purification / filtration membranes) in the framework of circular economy and in waste recycling.

Particularly, microwave assisted-keratin extraction (MAE) was conducted in acetic acid 70% v/v and the effects of extraction time, solvent/feathers ratio, and heating mode (MAE vs. conventional heating) on the extraction yield were investigated. Subsequently, the raw keratin extract was blended with gelatin to fabricate keratin-based biodegradable and biocompatible bioplastics via ES, using 3-(Glycidyloxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (GPTMS) as a cross-linking agent. A multidisciplinary approach allowed to characterize the bioplastics from the thermal, mechanical, barrier properties and morphology point of view and the results obtained highlight that the properties of the keratin-based bioplastics can be modulated by changing keratin and GPTMS concentrations.

The work is available at the following link: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22179597