Wool deconstruction using a benign eutectic melt
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Wool fibre is deconstructed in a facile ‘top down’ fabrication process into functional, nano-dimensional α-keratin chains using a benign choline chloride-urea deep eutectic solvent (DES) melt. After breakdown, the keratin can be easily isolated from the DES mixture through dialysis, and freeze-dried to form a protein powder ready for subsequent processing for applications such as wound healing or animal feedstock. The process is simple, efficient, and environmentally friendly. It can potentially utilise what would otherwise be a waste stream, stemming from wool that is deemed unsuitable for the clothing industry, and at the same time providing an additional revenue source.
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