Biological Systems Engineering



Yiqi Yang: 0000-0001-8153-4159

Date of this Version



ACS Omega 2017, 2, 1760−1768


© 2017 American Chemical Society

DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b00154


A two-step technology using nontoxic and ecofriendly chemicals is developed for the durable setting of densely/highly crosslinked proteins, such as wool and hair. Currently, most technologies for morphological modification are effective only for materials from non-highly-crosslinked proteins and cellulose. Before their morphological change, only water is needed to interrupt hydrogen bonds and ionic linkages, which stabilize the relative positions of molecules in non-highlycrosslinked proteins and cellulose. However, highly crosslinked proteins contain disulfide crosslinks, which are insusceptible to water. Thus, the controlled cleavage of disulfide bonds is required for creating new morphologies of highly crosslinked protein materials, such as hair and wool. Herein, cysteine and citric acid (CA) were used for the two-step setting of highly crosslinked proteins. This recipe showed better morphological change and less mechanical loss than commercial hair styling products. A reaction between CA and keratin was proposed, and verified via NMR and Raman spectra and titration. This technology could be a prospective alternative to achieve durable hair setting, anticrease finishing of wool textiles, and other durable morphological changes needed for highly crosslinked proteins.