Keratin based thermoplastic biocomposites: a review

  • Amin ShavandiEmail author
  • M. Azam Ali
review paper


Fibre reinforced composites have become important materials for manufacturing a diverse range of industrial products. Keratin-rich materials including sheep wool and poultry feathers can have added value by partially substituting synthetic polymers in the production of biocomposites with improved mechanical properties. The strong intermolecular disulfides, hydrogen, ionic and hydrophobic interactions of keratin make it behave as a thermoset material which is not easy to process and thermally blend with other polymers. Therefore, different plasticizers, compatibilizers and coupling agents were investigated in order to make keratin a processable material. This review discusses recent developments in the production of thermoplastic keratin blend biocomposites. In particular, the processing and preparation conditions has been discussed, and their strengths and limitations are enumerated and critically evaluated.

Graphical abstract


Melt extrusion Thermoplastic Biocomposite Wool Feather 



This work was supported by the Lincoln AgriTech Ltd. and Wool Industry Research Ltd. (WIRL), Christchurch, New Zealand, Grant Number: PR17518. The sheep wool and feather in the graphical abstract are created by Freepik.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11157_2019_9497_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 51 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioengineering Research Team, Centre for Bioengineering and Nanomedicine, Department of Food ScienceUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.BioMatter-Biomass transformation Lab (BTL), École interfacultaire de Bioingénieurs (EIB)Université Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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