School of Health Sciences
Zoo and Wildlife Biology
Bacillus licheniformis, feather microbiome, feather, Aegolius acadicus, feather-degrading bacteria, keratinolytic bacteria, keratinolytic, Northern Saw-whet Owl
Biology | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology
Benedict, Lauren, "Prevalence of Bacillus licheniformis on Northern Saw-Whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus)" (2022). Senior Honors Theses. 1199.
Birds are hosts to a variety of bacteria and fungi including some that are keratinolytic. These feather degrading bacteria, including Bacillus licheniformis, are capable of degrading β-keratin which is a major component of feathers. While there is little evidence to indicate that feather degrading bacteria are capable of degrading feathers on live birds, there is ample evidence to indicate that many bird species experience altered feather coloration. There is significant variation in the reported prevalence of B. licheniformis on birds with percentages ranging from 6.7% to 99%. This study sought to provide further support for an overall prevalence of B. licheniformis on Northern Saw-Whet Owls. 14 possible B. licheniformis colonies were isolated resulting in a prevalence of 85.7%.