Processing Induced Changes in Food Proteins: Amyloid Formation during Boiling of Hen Egg White

Biomacromolecules. 2020 Jun 8;21(6):2218-2228. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.0c00186. Epub 2020 Apr 6.


Amyloid fibrils (AFs) are highly ordered protein nanofibers composed of cross β-structure that occur in nature, but that also accumulate in age-related diseases. Amyloid propensity is a generic property of proteins revealed by conditions that destabilize the native state, suggesting that food processing conditions may promote AF formation. This had only been shown for foie gras, but not in common foodstuffs. We here extracted a dense network of fibrillar proteins from commonly consumed boiled hen egg white (EW) using chemical and/or enzymatic treatments. Conversion of EW proteins into AFs during boiling was demonstrated by thioflavin T fluorescence, Congo red staining, and X-ray fiber diffraction measurements. Our data show that cooking converts approximately 1-3% of the protein in EW into AFs, suggesting that they are a common component of the human diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid*
  • Amyloidogenic Proteins
  • Amyloidosis*
  • Egg Proteins
  • Egg White
  • Humans


  • Amyloid
  • Amyloidogenic Proteins
  • Egg Proteins