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How to “uncook” an egg

New method “uncooks” egg whites in minutes

EDUARDO CESARNew method “uncooks” egg whites in minutesEDUARDO CESAR

A chemical process now offers a quicker and cheaper way to “uncook” an egg white and reestablish the initial structure of lysozyme, one of its most abundant proteins (ChemBioChem, January 23, 2015). Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Flinders University in Australia took some cooked egg whites and added to them a substance that “dismantles” and liquefies the material.  After this process, the segments of lysozyme protein remained entangled until pressure was applied by a machine, stretching out the molecules. In addition to its lower cost, the process takes only a few minutes and is 100 times faster than other techniques currently used for the same purpose. The ultimate goal of the research is not to devise a chemical gimmick for molecular gastronomes (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No.142), but rather to create a way of returning large molecules to their original configurations. This type of technique is important for the pharmaceutical and food industries, which handle proteins that tend to fold themselves in ways that render them unusable.