Several modifications of protein films in the recent past using suitable heteroprotein complexes have been reported by different research groups.
Scientists have developed ultra-thin heteroprotein films that can revolutionise the food packaging and biomedical industries. The films have excellent thermal, mechanical, and pH stability that pave the way for expanding its applications. These films are thinner compared to other plastic- or protein-based films. These are also softer and more flexible.
Several modifications of protein films in the recent past using suitable heteroprotein complexes have been reported by different research groups. These complexes were developed usually from bulk solutions.
A research group from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology physical sciences division developed ultrathin monolayer protein films comprising two globular proteins — bovine serum albumin and lysozyme. They used a technique that gave the films thickness in the order of a nanometer.
The research work was led by Dr Sarathi Kundu, an associate professor at the institute in Guwahati, an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology. He was assisted by Raktim J Sarmah, a PhD student, who developed a monolayer heteroprotein film. They explored the different structures and morphologies of the complex films at variable pH conditions to explore stability and other properties.
The research was recently published in the Food Hydrocolloids journal.
Plastic wraps in the food packaging industry are very popular. One industry research group found that nearly 80 million Americans had used at least one plastic wrap roll in six months. More than five million Americans had gone through more than 10 million boxes during the same time, the study found.
Despite its convenience and benefits, plastic wrap contributes to the plastic pollution crisis. It is hard to recycle — if crumpled it becomes so small; and it is made from potentially harmful chemicals, especially as they break down in the environment.
The development of highly stable and biodegradable thin films of different protein complexes can be useful to expand its applications in thin-film technology.