The use of plants as a “green factory” to produce high strength gluten-based materials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of the present study was to develop an understanding of how wheat plants can be used as a “green factory” by the modulation of genotype (G) and environmental (E) interactions to fine-tune the structure and increase the strength of gluten based materials. Two wheat genotypes (5 + 10 and 2 + 12) were grown under four nitrogen and two temperature regimes to obtain gluten of various characteristics.
Protein microstructure morphology revealed by confocal laser scanning microscopy suggested a higher polymerisation of proteins in glycerol plasticized films from the 5 + 10 compared to the 2 + 12 genotype.
Also, films with the highest Young’s modulus and maximum stress were obtained from the 5 + 10 genotype, which might be explained by the higher number of cysteine residues and consequently more disulphide crosslinks in this genotype compared to the 2 + 12 one. The presence of two nano-scaled
morphologies, hexagonal and lamellar structures and their internal relations were found to be of relevance for formation of β-sheets and also to be related to performance (strength) of the material. Thus, plants could be used as a “green factory”, avoiding the use of chemicals, to tune the tensile properties of the materials. Structural properties such as relatively low protein aggregation, high β-sheet content and a high hexagonal to lamellar structural ratio at the nano-scale were found to yield films with high stiffness and strength.


  • Faiza Rasheed
  • Ramune Kuktaite
  • Mikael S. Hedenqvist
  • Mikael Gallstedt
  • Tomás Plivelic
  • Eva Johansson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
  • Plant Biotechnology


  • green factory, gluten quality, nano-structure, green materials
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2782-2792
Number of pages11
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 7
Publication categoryResearch