Abstract: The aim of this research is the development of biomaterials with controlled characteristics from renewable resources generated by leather and fur industry and characterization of smart functionalities, applicable in agriculture. Keratin hydrolysates were obtained by calcium oxide hydrolysis (KerCa) in view of agriculture applications. The chemical analysis of keratin hydrolysate indicates a calcium (9.93%) and protein-rich (72.83%) composition with a long-term release of organic nitrogen which represents 12.96% of the dry substance product. The SDS-PAGE electrophoresis of KerCa highlights the characteristic bands of high molecular weight proteins (20-10 kDa) but also rich in low molecular weight peptides (6-9 kDa). Diffuse Light Scattering analysis shows the presence of particle size populations of 712 nm and of 141 nm. Experiments regarding the nutritional and biostimulation capacity on plant growth were performed with KerCa in 1:20 and 1.5:20 dilutions on lentil and wheat seeds (Tamino and Mirastar type). The germination and growth of the plants were monitored and a stimulation of 5% to 15% was recorded against the control samples. Other formulations aimed at obtaining foliar blends containing microelements, collagen and keratin hydrolysates that have been applied to wheat plants. The results indicated an increase in plant length by 20% as compared to the water-treated control samples, which demonstrates a stimulating growth effect. The good results obtained in applications of keratin and collagen hydrolysates in agriculture show that they can be the basis for obtaining new biomaterials with various ecological applications.
Keywords: renewable resources from tanning, biomaterials with controlled characteristics, smart functionalities, keratin and collagen hydrolysates, nutritional