Various natural and synthetic polymers are being explored to develop biomaterials for tissue engineering and drug delivery. Although proteins are preferable over carbohydrates and synthetic polymers, biomaterials developed from proteins lack the mechanical properties and/or biocompatibilities required for medical applications. Plant proteins are widely available, have low potential to be immunogenic and can be made into fibers, films, hydrogels and micro- and nano-particles for medical applications. Studies, mostly with zein, have demonstrated the potential of using plant proteins for tissue engineering and drug delivery. Although other plant proteins such as wheat gluten and soyproteins have also shown biocompatibility using in vitro studies, fabricating biomaterials such as nano-fibers and nano-particles from soy and wheat proteins offers considerable challenges.
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