According to the Georgia Institute of Technology, crab shells and trees may soon replace the flexible plastic packaging used to keep food fresh. The innovative process involves spraying multiple layers of chitin from crab shells and cellulose from trees to form a flexible film similar to plastic packaging film. Once fully dried, the material is flexible, strong, transparent, and compostable.

Not only will these lifeforms become a source of sustainable and renewable wrapping, but they will also help improve food quality. Compared to conventional plastic packaging, the new technology offers a 67 percent reduction in oxygen permeability, allowing food to stay fresh even longer.


The Science behind Unboiling an Egg

Researchers from UC Irvine have developed a way of unboiling eggs by restoring molecular proteins.Image: Steve Zylius/UC Irvine

Researchers from UC Irvine have developed a way of unboiling eggs by restoring molecular proteins.
Image: Steve Zylius/UC Irvine

You can’t unscramble an egg, but you can unboil one.

Chemists from the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) have found a way to unboil an egg by quickly restoring molecular proteins.

But this development is not as much about the egg as it is the process, which has the potential to slash biotechnology costs. The researchers believe this new process has the ability to dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production, and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry.

“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”

The main purpose of the process is to quickly and efficiently produce or recycle valuable molecular proteins.