|Hurkman Ii, William|
Submitted to: Journal of Applied Polymer Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 21, 2013
Publication Date: May 27, 2013
Citation: Robertson, G.H., Cao, T., Gregorski, K.S., Hurkman II, W.J., Tanaka, C.K., Chiou, B., Glenn, G.M., Orts, W.J. 2013. Modification of vital wheat gluten with phosphoric acid to produce high free solution capacity. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. DOI: 10.1002/app.39440. Interpretive Summary: Wheat gluten is a potential resource for non-food uses that may benefit consumers in many ways but requires reformation or conversion to enhance its properties. One possible modification was investigated by which the gluten was chemically altered to increase its capacity to hold or absorb water. A natural, biodegradable adsorbent capable of adsorbing 88X the weight of the gluten was obtained. Superadsorbancy is attractive for chemical spills, drying water-damaged objects, confining body fluids from infants and from both accidental and surgical wounds.
Technical Abstract: Wheat gluten reacts with phosphoric acid in the presence of urea to produce natural superabsorbent gels. Fourier Transform Infra-red (FT-IR) spectroscopy and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) reveal chemical changes from the reaction. Temperatures above 120°C and dry conditions create the opportunity for reaction. FT-IR analyses confirm the formation of esters, carbamates, and phosphoramides on the gluten samples. 2DE protein composition topographies indicate a shift in the isoelectric point (pI) to lower values along with extensive inter-protein linkages. A free swelling capacity (FSC) in excess of 85× the mass of the converted gluten is obtainable using a conservative vacuum-assisted method to recover and quantify the properties of the wet gel. Other methods produce FSC values nearly twice as high. FSC for acid-treated gluten is lower for solutions containing solutes than the FSC for deionized water. Native gluten produces FSC values that are about 2% of those for treated gluten, but these values are less sensitive to the presence of ionic solutes and increase slightly in the presence of aqueous ethanol up to a mole fraction of 0.25.