Manpreet Kaur and Aman Ullah.
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Chicken feathers are by-product of the poultry-processing plants with its minimal use as animal feed and mostly dumped as landfill despite its enormous potential. An effort has been made to utilize this potential of chicken feather proteins in making nano-reinforced thermally processed films commercially applicable to wide range of packaging and plastics through simple technique. In this study in-situ nano- reinforced keratin from chicken feather fiber was used to prepare bio- nanocomposites (BNC) films with different wt. % additions of layered silicates and then conversion into films by compression molding. Keratin was completely dissolved under alkaline conditions and in-situ nano-reinforced prior to precipitation to obtain the BNC. The precipitated protein was washed with water several times and dried. Later on, it was plasticized with different plasticizers and cross-linked when desired. Effect of different plasticizers, %age of nanofillers and optimum dispersion levels of nanofillers were investigated. The BNC films were characterized by following techniques: Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), Differential Scanning Calorimetric (DSC) and Dynamic Mechanical analysis (DMA). The morphology of the BNC films was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).