Alkali-catalyzed low temperature wet crosslinking of plant proteins using carboxylic acids

Narendra Reddy, Ying Li, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


We report the development of a new method of alkali-catalyzed low temperature wet crosslinking of plant proteins to improve their breaking tenacity without using high temperatures or phosphorus-containing catalysts used in conventional poly(carboxylic acid) cross- linking of cellulose and proteins. Carboxylic acids are preferred over aldehyde-containing crosslinkers for crosslinking proteins and cellulose because of their low toxicity and cost and ability to improve the desired properties of the materials. However, current knowledge in carboxylic acid crosslinking of proteins and cellulose requires the use of carboxylic acids with at least three carboxylic groups, toxic phosphorous-containing catalysts and curing at high temperatures (150-185°C). The use of high temperatures and low pH in conventional carboxylic acid crosslinking has been reported to cause substantial strength loss andlor undesired changes in the properties of the crosslinked materials. In this research, gliadin, soyprotein, and zein fibers have been crosslinked with malic acid, citric acid, and butanete- tracarboxylic acid to improve the tenacity of the fibers without using high temperatures and phosphorus-containing catalysts. The new method of wet crosslinking using carboxylic acids containing two or more carboxylic groups will be useful to crosslink proteins for various industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofiber
  • Biopolymer
  • Carboxylic acids
  • Catalysts
  • Crosslinking
  • Protein fibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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