Chemists find a way to unboil eggs

It has often been said that you can’t unscramble an egg. But you might be able to unboil one.

When you boil an egg, the heat causes the proteins inside the egg white to tangle and clump together, solidifying it. New research published in ChemBioChem by scientists at UC Irvine shows how they can essentially reverse the clumping process by adding chemicals to a cooked egg.

“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” UCI biochemist Gregory Weisssaid in a statement. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold.”

But unboiling eggs isn’t the main focus for the researchers. “The real problem is there are lots of cases of gummy proteins that you spend way too much time scraping off your test tubes, and you want some means of recovering that material,” Weiss said.

The innovation could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry.

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