January 27, 2015
Scientists Have Figured Out How to Unboil Eggs (and It May Make Cancer Treatment More Affordable)
Biotechnology fields from cancer research to cheesemaking stand to benefit from a newly established process of unboiling eggs
Chemists at the University of California Irvine and the Callum Ormonde of the University of Western Australia have figured out how to unboil egg whites, a development which has far-reaching implications for a number of fields relying on biotechnology including cancer treatment and the production of food, according to data published in the journal ChemBioChem.
“In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold,” UCI professor Gregory Weiss described in a press release from UCI.
“We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”
The process is thought to be applicable to the production and research of molecular proteins with a number of applications, which can “misfold” into structurally incorrect shapes, rendering them useless.
According to UCI’s press release:
“For example, pharmaceutical companies currently create cancer antibodies in expensive hamster ovary cells that do not often misfold proteins. The ability to quickly and cheaply re-form common proteins from yeast or E. coli bacteria could potentially streamline protein manufacturing and make cancer treatments more affordable. Industrial cheese makers, farmers and others who use recombinant proteins could also achieve more bang for their buck.”