Could chicken feathers replace plastics as an environmentally friendly investment for the 21st century? Won’t that increase demand for more feathers for commercial manufacturing? And to meet that demand, will that not lead to an increase in poultry-slaughters? Elisa Camahort of ‘Hip and Zen Pen‘ has come up with this query. Walter Schmidt, a scientist with the Agricultural Research Service at Beltsville, Md. seems to have a solution in between both the concerns.
According to him, fiber from feathers can literally replace part of the plastics in many products. Schmidt and ARS colleagues George Gassner, Mike Line, Rolland Waters and Clayton Thomas received a patent for a process for extracting fiber from feathers. The invention could lead to feather-fiber substitutes for wood fiber and fiberglass as well as plastics. The process includes sanitizing and softening the fibers after their removal from feather quills. The key is the keratin, an animal protein fiber in all feathers and wool. Keratin, much stronger than plant cellulose fiber, has the strength of nylon and other synthetics. They have found ways to add value to feathers, a byproduct of poultry production. But, is it a byproduct in the real sense, is yet to be assured of.
Via: Science Blog