Chemists have now found a way to unboil eggs. But it might be some time before you could utilize the technique in your kitchen. In fact, this time could better be described as never. But you never know.
The study was conducted by chemists from Australia and UC Irvine. It’s not as if this has been achieved for the first time. Another chemist a few years back had discovered that unboiling an egg was indeed possible. This is also a subject that is often taken up by scientists and there are many published papers on this. But as professor of chemistry at UCI Gregory Weiss mentioned that they have published a new and better way to achieve the desired results.
The breakthrough process
The new unboiling process uses a device that can pull apart knotted protein. This allows the protein to be refolded. In simplest terms the unboiling process is when the egg has been in boiling water for 20 minutes at temperature of 90 °C. This is more than the usual 10 minutes boiling time, which is considered standard for hard boiled eggs. The researchers wanted to ensure that the process was foolproof and that there were no problems of gummy protein.
Other components include adding urea to the albumen and then pouring the liquefied egg into the device. The urea and the device then restore the protein and the boiled egg is liquid again.
This process, the researchers say, could tackle the problem of protein unfolding the wrong way, which makes the proteins useless. The chemists have filed a patent for this urea method of unboiling eggs. If it can be used to produce economical cancer drugs then this can be a big breakthrough in medicine. However it could take years to produce these results. And only then it can be seen how and how much unboiling the proteins could help in biotechnology.
The significance of the study
Well, obviously this hasn’t been done to help families unboil eggs that they might have boiled by mistake. The breakthrough is important as the process could help lower costs for cancer cure and lead to innovations in food production and other biotech areas.
The old methods of unboiling are expensive and also time-consuming. This newest method takes just a few minutes to reverse the process. This new unboiling method has the potential to achieve new breakthroughs in industrial manufacturing of proteins.
As of now cancer antibodies are created in hamster ovaries, which is not only weird but also expensive and time consuming. When the proteins can be reformed in less time and with less expenses then there is a way to make cancer treatments low-cost and thus affordable to all.
And don’t count the device to be available for households either in the near future. We would do well to boil our eggs wisely. In any case, the urea in eggs won’t do well with human palettes. At least that’s the belief. Maybe in the near future chemists can unboil eggs without the urea and then we will see.
You can find the full paper here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbic.201402427/abstract