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Title: Characterization of zein assemblies by ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering

Zein, a protein of corn, has an amphiphilic molecule capable of self-assembly into distinctly different structures. In this work, ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering (USAXS) was applied to investigate the formation of self-assembled zein structures in binary solvent systems of ethanol and water. Our study included observing structural changes due to aging. Three hierarchical structures were identified in zein-solvent systems, molecular zein 2D films, believed to be formed by zein rods assembled first into one-dimensional fibers and then into two-dimensional films, and 3D spherical aggregates. Aging did not change the size or shape of primary units, but promoted their self-assembly into intermediate 2D structures and shaped 3D structures into well19 defined spheres. We found that the rheological parameters, consistency index (K) and behavior index (n), storage and loss moduli (G’ and G”) were also measured. K and n, changed markedly with aging, from nearly Newtonian low consistency fresh samples to highly viscous pseudoplastic aged samples. G’ and G” increased with aging for all samples reflecting increased interactions among zein self-assembled structures. Furthermore, viscoelastic parameters indicated that zein dispersions formed gels upon aging. It was observed that USAX reported on molecular scale self-assembly processes, while rheological measurements reported on the macroscale interaction betweenmore » self-assembled particles. Raman spectra suggested that α-helix to β-sheet transformations prompted zein self-assembly, which influenced the size and morphology of molecular assemblies and ultimately the rheological properties of zein dispersions.« less
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Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Soft Matter
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 16; Journal ID: ISSN 1744-683X
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; USAXS; aging; hierarchical nanostructures; self-assembly; zein
OSTI Identifier: