Zein, a major corn protein, is primarily used in specialty coatings, such as for paper. Now, improved methods of purifying and modifying zein devised by Agricultural Research Service scientists could usher in new cosmetic and biomedical applications as well.
Zein has been commercially available for more than 60 years. But costly purification steps necessary to eliminate zein's odor and yellow color have hampered its widespread commercial use. Chemist David Sessa examined the problem in studies at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill.
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