What The Cluck? Science Can Now Unboil Eggs

What The Cluck? Science Can Now Unboil Eggs

Researchers have invented a device that literally unboils hen eggs, and the discovery will save biotechnology firms $160 billion.

We used to think the age-old question was "What came first, the chicken or the egg?" But all this time, scientists were really wondering "If I mess up while cooking, can I fix this egg and put it back in the fridge?" Amazingly, the answer is yes, according to a recently published study detailing exactly how you can unboil an egg. What's more, the discovery is less about correcting cooking choices than it is about improving all biotech research.

When you boil an egg, you aren't simply hardening its interior. At a molecular level, the boiling process unfolds proteins and tangles them together in a way science thought was irreversible. A proposed device, designed by researchers at UC Irvine, can pull apart the tangled proteins and give them an opportunity to refold naturally.

"We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order," chemistry professor Gregory Weiss explained. "It's not so much that we're interested in processing the eggs; that's just demonstrating how powerful this process is. 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."

To put Weiss' statement another way, molecular proteins in the lab have a nasty habit of "misfolding" into useless shapes. Over time, that's incredibly costly, adding up to $160 billion of material the biotech industry can't make use of. This process is a valuable way of recycling proteins with massive implications for everything from food production to cancer research.

"The new process takes minutes," Weiss said. "It speeds things up by a factor of thousands."

UCI has filed a patent on its work and is currently seeking interested commercial partners to make it a reality. While the study is mostly of interest to research firms, who knows? Maybe one day egg unboilers will become common kitchen appliances after all.

Source: ChemBioChem, via CBS

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I read about this- Apparently it involves urea, so you probably wouldn't want to eat one.

next week. unbaking a cake.

-Ezio-:
next week. unbaking a cake.

Imwont be impressed until I can untoast bread.

this is all well and good but it wont turn nasty scrambled eggs into tasty sunny side up eggs

:o

OMG. The Orange Kid of Earthbound was onto something.

Seriously, science is neat. I'll bet this research has tons of practical applications.

TheRightToArmBears:
I read about this- Apparently it involves urea, so you probably wouldn't want to eat one.

Urea itself isnt the problem. Though it does smell.

Its simply that all the sugars and protiens in your piss makes a prime breeding ground for things that are a problem.

I love the lay terms this article uses. You can say it: When you cook an egg the protein bond goes from a primary bond to a tertiary bond, which is what makes them hard. :P

This is pretty damn awesome, I must say. We are de-differentiating cells and un-boiling eggs. Cancer, we are coming for you!

Edit: I made some heinous spelling errors that I had to correct... it looked like 6 year old me typed it.

gigastar:

TheRightToArmBears:
I read about this- Apparently it involves urea, so you probably wouldn't want to eat one.

Urea itself isnt the problem. Though it does smell.

Its simply that all the sugars and protiens in your piss makes a prime breeding ground for things that are a problem.

Regardless of whether or not it's technically edible, it's still not going to be pleasant.

I'm gonna guess that this is How to Basic before I click the link.

Evil Smurf:

-Ezio-:
next week. unbaking a cake.

Imwont be impressed until I can untoast bread.

We'll ht a peak when we can unslice bread, methinks :P

Who and/or what determines the monetary value of these misfolded proteins?

Where exactly are they getting "$160 billion" from?

Olrod:
Who and/or what determines the monetary value of these misfolded proteins?

Where exactly are they getting "$160 billion" from?

Presumably the biotech firms gauge how much material is lost due to misfolding and then place a dollar value on that wasted material. How they determine what specific proteins are worth is likely based on how much it cost to acquire them, via synthesis or other means. That "$160 billion" figure is probably an aggregate estimate of the cost of the lost materials. It'd be like if a steel company has heavily oxidized steel left after they finish making parts, the material can't be used so it's called waste and an accountability team figures out how much money is lost because of it.

Unlike steel, proteins, until now, can't be easily recycled.

Im confused. it doesn't actually exist? They just want patents and investors to try and invent it?

Panzervaughn:
Im confused. it doesn't actually exist? They just want patents and investors to try and invent it?

Scientists usually aren't interested in making products out of their discoveries, since that's an engineer's job. They've worked out how to make the process happen, and now they want to sell it to someone who can make a marketable product using it on a mass level. These guys just proved it could be done in a lab so their job is basically over.

You couldn't resist the pun could you? It was truly eggs-ceptional in its poor quality and that's no yoke. If you were trying to get me to crack up then it failed.

I'm not sorry

MiskWisk:
You couldn't resist the pun could you? It was truly eggs-ceptional in its poor quality and that's no yoke. If you were trying to get me to crack up then it failed.

I'm not sorry

Now now, no need to beat a dead horse and scramble the punchline.

aegix drakan:
:o

OMG. The Orange Kid of Earthbound was onto something.

I'm not sure whether I want to feel annoyed you beat me to that remark, or glad that I'm not the only one who thought of Earthbound the moment I read the title.

TheRightToArmBears:

gigastar:

TheRightToArmBears:
I read about this- Apparently it involves urea, so you probably wouldn't want to eat one.

Urea itself isnt the problem. Though it does smell.

Its simply that all the sugars and protiens in your piss makes a prime breeding ground for things that are a problem.

Regardless of whether or not it's technically edible, it's still not going to be pleasant.

Guys, urine and urea are two different things. Now, urea is the main part of urine but it isn't responsible for the smell (or the color). And you can obtain it without anyone pissing.

Makhiel:

TheRightToArmBears:

gigastar:

Urea itself isnt the problem. Though it does smell.

Its simply that all the sugars and protiens in your piss makes a prime breeding ground for things that are a problem.

Regardless of whether or not it's technically edible, it's still not going to be pleasant.

Guys, urine and urea are two different things. Now, urea is the main part of urine but it isn't responsible for the smell (or the color). And you can obtain it without anyone pissing.

Cheers for the GCSE bio lesson mate.

Whether or not you're getting urea out of piss or not, it's an irritant. You don't want to eat it.

Baresark:
I love the lay terms this article uses. You can say it: When you cook an egg the protein bond goes from a primary bond to a tertiary bond, which is what makes them hard. :P

Eh. I imagine people are more familiar with the idea of proteins folding, because of Folding@Home.

V4Viewtiful:
We'll ht a peak when we can unslice bread, methinks :P

But sliced bread is already the greatest thing ever; why would you want to turn it back into its inferior counterpart?

Steve the Pocket:

But sliced bread is already the greatest thing ever; why would you want to turn it back into its inferior counterpart?

To give yourself a bigger handle so you can slice the same bread even thinner, and thus end up with even MORE pieces of sliced bread?

OT: So, this projected reduction in expenses will TOTALLY be passed onto the consumers, right? I'm SURE that most biotech companies are altruistic enough to not continue to gouge the people who depend on their products to live.

Wait a minute, so if you can return a boiled egg to normal, what's to say you can't, say, return a burn victim to normal?

gigastar:

TheRightToArmBears:
I read about this- Apparently it involves urea, so you probably wouldn't want to eat one.

Urea itself isnt the problem. Though it does smell.

Its simply that all the sugars and protiens in your piss makes a prime breeding ground for things that are a problem.

I don't know much about medicine and all, but aren't sugar and protein in your piss a sign of problem worse than some bad smell or even the things that might breed in it?

CriminalScum:
Wait a minute, so if you can return a boiled egg to normal, what's to say you can't, say, return a burn victim to normal?

Or un-mince meat, for that matter?

Fulbert:

gigastar:

TheRightToArmBears:
I read about this- Apparently it involves urea, so you probably wouldn't want to eat one.

Urea itself isnt the problem. Though it does smell.

Its simply that all the sugars and protiens in your piss makes a prime breeding ground for things that are a problem.

I don't know much about medicine and all, but aren't sugar and protein in your piss a sign of problem worse than some bad smell or even the things that might breed in it?

No, its totally normal. The body expels (by urination) sugars it doesnt have time to process and store as fat, and various kinds of protien that are waste products of cellular processes.

They missed a trick with the title; just uncapitalise the "c" in "cluck" and it will look almost like "duck."
Granted, this would please no one but me, however...keep it in mind for any future articles involving clucking :)

Olrod:
Who and/or what determines the monetary value of these misfolded proteins?

Purified proteins have a market value based on the cost and time it takes to purify them. I guess the monetary value comes from estimating the yields they could be getting compared to what they are getting now minus the cost of implementing this new system.

Where exactly are they getting "$160 billion" from?

$160 billion is the size of the global biotechnology industry. Now you may ask how does this tell us how much biotechnology firms are going to save? The answer is that it doesn't. This number was not intended to estimate how much biotechnology firms would save in either the CBS article or the original research paper. Thank you for asking critical questions.

 

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