Graft polymerization of native chicken feathers for thermoplastic applications

Enqi Jin, Narendra Reddy, Zhifeng Zhu, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Inexpensive and biodegradable thermoplastics were developed through graft polymerization of native chicken feather with methyl acrylate as a potential substitute for petroleum products. Poultry feathers are available in large quantities at a low price. However, natural chicken feathers have poor thermoplasticity, cannot be used to develop thermoplastic products, have very limited industrial applications, and are often considered as solid wastes. In this research, the effects of graft polymerization conditions, such as molar ratio of NaHSO3 to K2S2O8, initiator and monomer concentrations, pH, temperature and time of polymerization, on grafting parameters, that is, the conversion of monomer to polymer, grafting percentage, and grafting efficiency were evaluated. Methyl acrylate was found to be successfully grafted onto functional groups on the surfaces of the chicken feathers, and optimal graft polymerization conditions were also obtained. The feather-g-poly(methyl acrylate) developed showed good thermoplasticity, and feather films had substantially higher tensile properties than soy protein isolate and starch acetate films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1729-1738
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 9 2011


  • biodegradable
  • feathers
  • films
  • grafting
  • thermoplastics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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