What is Keratin?

Keratin is the fibrous structural protein of hair, nails, horn, hoofs, wool, feathers, and the epithelial cells in the outermost layer of skin. Keratin proteins can be subdivided into two groups: Alpha- Keratins, and Beta-Keratins, depending on their secondary structure which is influenced by hydrogen bonding.

More about Keratin

Composition of Keratin

In Keratin, the amino acid composition varies depending on the tissue it occurs in, and it's function. Cysteine residues which become linked covalently through disulfide bonds form Cystines which are highly responsible for Keratin's stability. The length of the fibres depend on how much water they contain. 16% water ( complete hydration ) increases their length by approximately 10 to 12 percent.

Importance of Keratin

Some Keratin proteins have been found to regulate key cellular activities such as cell growth and protein synthesis.

Properties of Keratin

Physical Properties- Water soluble, Hard Structure

Chemical Properties- Relatively Non- Reactive with Oxygen, Flammable if heat is applied, Reactive with acids.