Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques  
2021, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages: 342-348  
J. Environ. Treat. Tech.  
ISSN: 2309-1185  
Journal web link:  
A Pilot-Scale Study on the Extraction &  
Optimization of Keratin from Human Hair An  
Adapted Strategy for the Control of Environmental  
Punam Sen , Arun. C. M , Divvyapriya. J  
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, PSG College of Arts & Science, Coimbatore-641014  
Department of Microbiology, PSG College of Arts & Science, Coimbatore-641014  
Received: 15/09/2020  
Accepted: 29/11/2020  
Published: 20/03/2021  
Large aggregates of the keratin based pollutants are known to cause intense threat in contaminating the environment of contact  
region than in the discrete region. Diversifying the application of keratin could be a promising phenomenon for reducing the keratin  
pollution. Accordingly, the undertaken work was designed to optimize the parameters for the keratin extraction from human hair with  
a potential source of application in the environment. Sequence of the effective extraction dealt with pre-treatment of human hair with a  
surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulphate), followed by the digestion of hair with sodium sulfide (Na S) at pH 12 - 14 and then stirred with  
magnetic stirrer at 50C. The aliquot was then centrifuged at pH of 3 - 4, following which the precipitated keratin was extracted, dried  
and pulverized. The conformational study of the extracted keratin was done by performing Ninhydrin test and Fourier transform  
infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis. The extracted keratin can be exploited in several applications such as, active component in bone  
replacement, hydro-gel preparation, cosmetics, scaffold preparation, bio degradable films etc. Hence, this work highlighted on the  
optimal isolation of pure keratin from human hair, paving away the environmental pollutants and advent a healthy grid of societal  
Keywords: Keratin, SDS, Filtration, FTIR  
preparation. The keratin extracted from human are found to be  
more biocompatible, less immune stimulating when used in  
transplantation and are readily biodegradable [7]. Amidst the  
substantial development that finds use of keratin into various  
products like foods, catalysis, bone replacement, cosmetics  
and fertilizers, still cumbersome keratin finds its way into  
landfills only due to lack of efficient technology of  
contaminant free extraction.  
The Alkali reduction [8] method which was previously  
found effective among the rest of available techniques of  
extraction is employed in this experiment. Current work aims  
to elevate the process in industrial scale view and  
optimization aims the utmost productivity of the industry  
which should be higher than 75% extraction ratio (maximum  
achieved till date) [8]. The work here concentrated mainly on  
to reduce the environmental impact caused by the keratin  
based waste resources with effective extraction of pure  
keratin, less labor and production cost and less resources  
consumption. The commercial form of keratin finds its use as  
additive in cosmetics, hair care products, sutures,  
antimicrobial bio-films, and as active component of bone  
Solid waste management of urbanized society has become  
a recent interest due to dreadful effects caused by the  
untreated effluents and potential bio-compounds that can be  
extracted. Keratin waste from various sources like poultry,  
slaughter houses, leather industry and human hair are known  
to cause deteriorating effect on human and environment [1].  
Being recalcitrant to many simple proteases, keratin when  
persists in the environment is anticipated to cause long term  
effects like causing pollution in the environment and  
imparting diseases like chlorosis and fowl cholera in human  
2]. As no data over current keratin production is known, the  
estimated potential to produce keratin from only 40×10 tons  
of chicken feather [3] and 6.9×10 tons of human hair [4] is  
.1×10 tons per year (in a rate of 80% extraction) excluding  
the leather industry waste, wool waste and other slaughter  
house waste. Recent trends of sustainable development and  
wide attraction towards natural protein and its derived  
materials lead to exploit keratin as reliable source for the day  
to day application. This super coiled polypeptide with  
extensive disulfide cross linking is classified into two types –  
soft and hard Keratin, with 1% and 5% sulfur content  
Notable role of keratin is centered in cosmetics and  
wound healing materials and with 50% share estimating to  
about 3500 tons of keratin consumption annually, cosmetics  
highly exploit the keratin resources. Keratin aids in wound  
healing by directly activating the keratinocytes [9]  skin  
cells, activating proliferation of the cells in the wounded  
region. Alpha keratin builds outer skin; aids in hair care, nail  
growth and beta keratin acts as a precursor for vitamin A,  
Keratin today finds its uses in various fields like  
cosmetics, Pharmacology, biomedical [5-6] and scaffold  
Corresponding Author: Dr. Punam Sen, Associate  
Professor, Department of Microbiology, PSG College of Arts  
Science, Coimbatore-641014. Email:  
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques  
2021, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages: 342-348  
hence promoting the eye sight. Amidst raising trends in  
exploiting keratin into diverse application, the cost of keratin  
acts as only constrains, so a proper protocol for keratin  
extraction from available resources can abruptly increase the  
utilization of the same. Reducing the need of synthetic protein  
processing by promoting chemical extraction of natural  
proteins will simultaneously decrease the environmental  
contamination and increase the exploitation of natural  
recourses in an economically feasible manner. Commercially,  
keratin is used in the hair treatment medications, cosmetics,  
medial application, and as coating in various medical  
applications like sutures [10].  
Keratin from human hair like other mammalian Keratin is  
α-keratin. Previous approach for the extraction of the keratin  
is found quite less feasible, with application of greater electric  
and mechanical energy copulation. Works proposed earlier  
demand the need for continuous digestion of the keratin over  
the magnetic stirrer[11], which pulls the requirement of huge  
amount of power consumption [12], [13].The proposed  
method aims to reduce the contaminant and debris to the  
maximum extent, ensuring the product stays extra pure. There  
are very few literatures that are concentrated over the  
extraction of keratin from human hair, due to unknown  
notion, this area of research is still found to be least attracted  
field of study.&n