A team of students from B Tech (Biotechnology – Fifth Semester), including Suraj Kumar Pradhan and Mr Shrijan Verma, from Amity Institute of Biotechnology (AIB) has developed a bioplastic from chicken feather. The project was supervised by Dr Kush Kumar Nayak, Assistant Professor, AIB. The study is subjected to further optimization for improved materialistic properties.

The primary goal of natural polymer based research is to develop a system that can mimic the structure and function of native nondegradable synthetic polymer to some extent. The project’s goal was to find replacement of synthetic polymer to making our environment safe. A synthetic polymer, which is made-up of petroleum products like polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, are nondegradable and harm environment since they do not break down for tens of hundreds of years. On the other hand, the natural polymers can degrade (decompose) easily, increase soil fertility, do not pose risk to the environment and reduce the cost of waste management practices. Natural polymers will thrive till eternity considering their compatibility to environment. Among natural polymers proteins can be used for the development of new blend and/or composite material. Protein based material has the ability to stand against synthetic polymer due to its characteristics like strong physical and mechanical strength.

The group of AIB students extracted keratin (a kind of protein) from chicken feathers to prepare bioplastic for different applications such as packaging. The applications of protein-based natural polymers will be on rise in the field of biomaterials, packaging and in coating industries.