Every one knows how to boil an egg (egg + water + heat + time), but is it possible to reverse the process and take a boiled egg back to its previous state? The answer is, incredibly, yes. Here's how.
In a paper published in ChemBioChem by chemists from the University of California in Irvine and South Australia's Flinders University, they detail just what it was they did to take boiled egg whites back into their uncooked state.
First, they used a urea substance they synthesized to "chew" away at the solidified egg whites. That substance recreates the protein found in uncooked egg whites, but that only gets you part of the way there. Next, to unwind the proteins at the molecular level, they dump the egg whites into a vortex fluid machine, which works the proteins back into their original, untangled form.
But even though the end result of the process is, indeed, to take boiled egg whites back to their original state, that is not really the point. Lead researcher Greg Weiss of the University of California in Irvine explained in a statement:
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.
Instead, researchers say that the process they demonstrated on the egg would actually be used to improve both food manufacturing and the manufacturing of cancer medications.
Image: Neveshkin Nikolay/Shutterstock.