Zein is a prolamine and an alcohol soluble protein present in maize endosperm cells. Zein is a 20kDa structural protein and is encoded by the gene mapped on the short arm of maize chromosome 7. This protein lacks essential amino acids, such as lysine and tryptophan. Therefore, it has a poor nutritional value.
Zein is used in the manufacture of fiber, adhesive, coating, ceramic, ink, cosmetic, textile, chewing gum and biodegradable plastics. This protein is a biodegradable and sustainable agropolymer. Thus, it is a great potential replacement for traditional oil-based plastics.