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Author Topic: Is it possible to unboil an egg  (Read 3980 times)

Online syhprum

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Is it possible to unboil an egg
« on: 20/03/2013 12:35:01 »
I don't of course expect to make it hatchable but are there any chemical processes that will make it runny again ?


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Is it possible to unboil an egg
« Reply #1 on: 20/03/2013 18:16:55 »
There was a discussion earlier about melting a potato.

It may be possible to liquefy your egg.  Bacteria may do it too.  However, your resulting egg would be much different than what you started with.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Is it possible to unboil an egg
« Reply #2 on: 21/03/2013 10:34:15 »
Egg white is a complex mixture of proteins, water and minerals; the main protein is called ovalbumin. As part of forming the egg, the protein is formed by a series of enzymes into a globular 3-dimensional structure, each globular protein easily moving past each other to form a liquid at room temperature. The structure is similar to the one shown here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpin

When you boil an egg, the heat causes increased vibration in the molecule, which overcomes the relatively weak attraction between the strands of protein, causing it to unravel, or "denature". This breaks down the uniform globular structure of the protein into strings of amino acids which intertwine randomly, forming a jelly-like dense mesh which is a solid at room temperature.

Producing the active form of the protein requires careful coordination of many steps with specific enzymes snipping and joining shorter segments of protein, all coordinated by the DNA of a cell.

Once the protein structure is randomised, it is highly unlikely that it will return to it's previous, highly structured state, considering that:
  • there are no enzymes present which will achieve this (or, if they were present during the heating, they would be denatured too)
  • the original shorter protein strands from which the ovalbumin protein was formed are no longer available
  • The protein is in a tangled, solid state, so it cannot move back into its original shape.
Bacteria prepare the egg for digestion by snipping the protein into shorter strands, which turns it into a liquid, but it is nothing like the uniform, complex structure of the original egg white protein.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Is it possible to unboil an egg
« Reply #3 on: 21/03/2013 16:53:30 »
I wonder if you could liquefy it with an ultrasonic wave, either preserving the shell, or without the shell.
 

Offline katesisco

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Re: Is it possible to unboil an egg
« Reply #4 on: 28/03/2013 14:54:10 »
Well, I was amazed when I read that you cannot cook the white in a turtle egg. Just won't set.  So how does that work?
 

Offline strata

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Re: Is it possible to unboil an egg
« Reply #5 on: 14/02/2014 12:20:47 »
Old thread I know but I have just done this - it was fried not boiled but the principle is the same.
Two things happen to make an egg set when cooked - first is proteins denaturing - ie unfolding due to the heat but this isn't sufficient to set the egg, the next step is coagulation when cysteine residues which would normaly form disulphide bridges within the same molecule start pairing up with residues in adjacent molecules and make the whole thing into one solid mess.

If you add a sufficiently strong reducing agent you can break the misformed disulphide bonds and allow the protein molecules to separate again, by carefully controling the conditions ( in the lab by dialysing buffers in and out ) you can restore proteins to their native state.

In the following video I used 5g sodium borohydride and a pinch of sodium hydroxide in 200ml water to 'unfry' the egg. It took quite a while and gave off a fair amount of hydrogen gas in the process -

newbielink:http://tinyurl.com/unfry [nonactive]
 

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Re: Is it possible to unboil an egg
« Reply #5 on: 14/02/2014 12:20:47 »

 

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