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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Effects of multi-functional additives during foam extrusion of wheat gluten materials

Bettelli, Mercedes A.; Hu, Qisong; Capezza, Antonio J.; Johansson, Eva; Olsson, Richard T.; Hedenqvist, Mikael S.


To broaden the range in structures and properties, and therefore the applicability of sustainable foams based on wheat gluten expanded with ammonium-bicarbonate, we show here how three naturally ocurring multifunctional additives affect their properties. Citric acid yields foams with the lowest density (porosity of similar to 50%) with mainly closed cells. Gallic acid acts as a radical scavenger, yielding the least crosslinked/ aggregated foam. The use of a low amount of this acid yields foams with the highest uptake of the body-fluid model substance (saline, similar to 130% after 24 hours). However, foams with genipin show a large and rapid capillary uptake (50% in one second), due to their high content of open cells. The most dense and stiff foam is obtained with one weight percent genipin, which is also the most crosslinked. Overall, the foams show a high energy loss-rate under cyclic compression (84-92% at 50% strain), indicating promising cushioning behaviour. They also show a low compression set, indicating promising sealability. Overall, the work here provides a step towards using protein biofoams as a sustainable alternative to fossil-based plastic/rubber foams in applications where absorbent and/or mechanical properties play a key role.

Published in

Communications Chemistry
2024, Volume: 7, number: 1, article number: 75

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Textile, Rubber and Polymeric Materials
    Bio Materials

    Publication identifier


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