The History and Uses of Casein Plastic

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Casein plastic, or ‘milk plastic’, has been used in the Americas for decades, due to its low production costs and accessibility. Casein is defined as, “A white, tasteless, odorless protein precipitated from milk by rennin” (“Casein” 1). and “a slow digesting protein that plays a large role in preventing muscle breakdown” (“Casein Protein“ 1). Not only is casein an important protein that all mammals need to survive, but this vital protein has also been very important throughout recent American and English history. Though there are many ways casein has been used in history, the most popular ways that this protein has been manipulated through history is in plastics, food, and nutritional supplements.

Casein is found in all mammalian milk, being 80% of the proteins found in cow’s milk and anywhere from 25-40% of the proteins found in human’s milk. This valuable protein is separated from milk through a practice called ultrafiltration (“Casein Protein” 1). Since casein is somewhat insoluble, it often forms structures named “micelles” that increase water solubility. Micelles, simply put, are a mass of molecules in a colloidal mixture. When milk is pasteurized, heat causes casein and micelle structures to become disturbed, therefore breaking them apart to form simpler structures. Casein is composed of a group of like phosphoproteins that are found in mammalian milk fat. Casein is a very important nutrient required for most life forms, especially for the young and the elderly (“Casein Protien.” 1).

Casein, as stated above, is a popular nutritional enhancer, seen commonly as a compound called caseinate. Caseinate is the outcome of casein and a common nutritional element, the most common being sodium and calcium. Caseinates have spectacul...

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...always been a commonly used product, whether it be in modern day or thousands of years ago.

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