Bio-thermoplastics from grafted chicken feathers for potential biomedical applications

Narendra Reddy, Qiuran Jiang, Enqi Jin, Zhen Shi, Xiuliang Hou, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This research demonstrated the feasibility of using bio-thermoplastics developed from chicken feathers grafted with acrylates and methacrylates as scaffolds for tissue engineering. Keratin, the major protein in feathers, is a highly crosslinked biopolymer that has been reported to be biocompatible. However, it is difficult to break the disulfide bonds and make keratin soluble to develop materials for tissue engineering and other medical applications. Previously, keratin extracted from feathers using alkaline hydrolysis has been made into scaffolds but with poor water stability and mechanical properties. In this study, thermoplastic films were compression molded from chicken feathers grafted with 6 different acrylate monomers. The influence of the concentration and structures of grafted monomers on grafting parameters and the tensile strength, water stability and cytocompatibility of grafted feathers compression molded into films were investigated. It was found that the grafted feather films were water stable and had good strength and better supported cell growth than poly(lactic acid) films. Grafted feathers demonstrated the potential to be used for fabrication of biomaterials for various biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • Feathers
  • Films
  • Graft polymerization
  • Proteins
  • Tissue engineering scaffolds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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