Scientists have invented a way to unboil a hen egg and claim that the new method could dramatically slash costs for cancer treatments and speed up biotechnology research related to proteins.
Researchers from University of California, Irvine and Australian chemists figured out how to unboil egg whites.
"Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg," said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry.
"In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order," Weiss said.
To re-create a clear protein known as lysozyme once an egg has been boiled, Weiss and his colleagues add a urea substance that chews away at the whites, liquefying the solid material.
That’s half the process; at the molecular level, protein bits are still balled up into unusable masses.
The scientists then employ a vortex fluid device, a high-powered machine designed by Professor Colin Raston’s laboratory at South Australia’s Flinders University.