Keratin degrading ability of three keratinophilic fungi was studied in vitro in presence of different keratinous substrates viz hairs, feathers and human nails. Chrysosporium tropicum (NFCCI-3317), C. keratinophilum (NFCCI-3318) and C. pannicola (NFCCI-3362) were tested to assess their biodegradation capability and keratin invasion for a period of six weeks. C. tropicum colonize feathers as early as 4 days, hair by 6 days and human nails by 17 days. C. keratinophilum and C. pannicola colonize feathers on 5th and 6th days respectively whereas both colonize hair and nails respectively on 7th and 18th. Complete feathers and hairs degradation was observed by the three Chrysosporium species within 4 weeks but degradation of nails was only 40% after 6 weeks of observation. C. tropicum showed the highest enzyme activity and C. keratinophilum the least.
Keratin, Keratinophilic fungi, Biodegradation, Chrysosporium
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