Background: Keratin is among the most abundant structural proteins of animal origin, however it remains broadly underutilized.
Objective: Bioinformatic investigation was performed to evaluate selected keratins originating from mass-produced waste products, i.e., chicken feathers and pig hair, as potential sources of bioactive peptides.
Methods: Pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, papain, and subtilisin were used for in silico keratinolysis with the use of “Enzyme(s) action” and fragmentomic analysis of theoretical products was performed using “Profiles of potential biological activity” in BIOPEP-UWM database of bioactive peptides. Bioactivity probability calculation and toxicity prediction of the peptides obtained were estimated using PeptideRanker and ToxinPred tools, respectively.
Results: Our results showed that the keratins are a potential source of a variety of biopeptides, including dipeptidyl peptidase IV, angiotensin converting enzyme, prolyl endopeptidase inhibitory and antioxidative. Papain and subtilisin were found to be the most appropriate enzymes for keratin hydrolysis. This study presents possible structures of keratin-derived bioactive peptides that have not been previously described.
Conclusion: Our data suggest additional in vitro and in vivo studies to verify theoretical predictions and further investigate the possibility of using keratin-rich waste as a source of peptide nutraceuticals.
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