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Location: Plant Polymer Research

Title: A "green process" for producing highly purified zein from commercial zein

item Sessa, David

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2011
Publication Date: 6/30/2011
Citation: Sessa, D.J. 2011. A "green process" for producing highly purified zein from commercial zein. Meeting Abstract. xx.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Corn zein is the major protein component of ground corn, and co-products of the corn ethanol industry which includes corn gluten meal and distillers’ dried grains. Zein products generated from those co-products all possess yellow coloration and off-odor. Removal of yellow color and off-odor is essential for the usage of zein in food systems as well as in the medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. A process was developed to purify commercial zein based on protein and contaminants adsorption characteristics on zeolite (Z), a clay-based particle acting as a porous molecular sieve, in combination with an activated carbon (AC). A synthetic Z with pore size of 5 Angstroms and an AC either from coconut hulls or extruded vegetable matter proved ideal for adsorbing the least amount of protein relative to the adsorption of color and off-odor contaminants. A combination of Z and AC served as the media for packing four columns of our pilot-scale apparatus. The operating principles involve selective sequestration of the low molecular weight contaminants by continuous recycling of the column eluates. Sequential filtration proved to be an alternative to methodologies involving ultrafiltration/diafiltration on a tangential flow system that will provide a highly purified, defatted zein product with no off-odor and limited coloration. Ready markets for a purified, defatted, odorless and decolorized zein product are its usage in gluten-free baked products, chewing gums, edible packaging films, coatings and encapsulants for drugs, flavors and sweeteners. Significant and growing areas in the medical field involve purified zein usage for skin replacements, scaffolds for artificial organs, wound –healing, and surgical adhesives.