Gregory Weiss is the lead researcher on a team of scientists at the University of California, Irvine who boiled an egg at 90 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes, then found a way to unboil it. The scientists first injected the egg white with urea, then used a vortex fluid device to unfold the protein. The protein was folded during the cooking process.
The results of the study confirmed what bakers have known for a very long time, never leave batter in the bowl. That’s why rubber spatulas were invented! But, unlike bakers, scientists could not easily disperse of the protein left in their test tubes. They now know that by adding the necessary protein and using a vortex fluid device, which is versatile and low cost, they can reuse protein. Prior to this study, the only known process of reusing protein was slow and very expensive.
“Such proteins are typically impossible to produce,” Weiss said, adding that when they come out of the bacteria cells used in the lab, “they form sticky, tangled protein masses that look like boiled egg whites.”
And since protein is the basis of all active biology, being able to employ this process to reuse it will lower the costs of cancer research and allow other industries that use protein to waste less material.
“We’re going to be using (the same process) to produce cancer-associated proteins, which drive cancer cells to divide and form tumors,” Weiss added.