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The University of California, Irvine, and Australian chemists have discovered a method to unboil egg whites.

The method involves untangling the proteins in the egg white, allowing them to return to their original state. Lysozyme, a clear protein in egg, is liquefied using a substance containing urea (more often at home in urine). Then, to tackle the molecular level, the chemists used a “vortex fluid device” to untangle the protein by spinning and pulling it apart.

Though the discovery offers clear inspiration for Heston Blumenthal, scientists are noting the discovery’s far-reaching applications in the $160 billion global biotechnology industry. Recovering proteins has been a notable issue for chemists and this innovation could have tangible benefits for the food industry and even in treating cancer since it speeds up the process dramatically, doing in minutes what once took days.

Chemistry and Natural Science (Physical) applicants will no doubt enjoy learning the theory behind the process.

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